WEDDINGS
06/05/2012 03:37 pm ET

Love Commandos: Group Aims To Rescue Indian Couples From Forced Marriages

Arranged marriage may be a long-accepted tradition in India and even among some families in the U.S., but that doesn't mean that the practice is without its opponents.

Many have argued that the custom is not only stifling and outdated but also a form of "forced" marriage. And for couples like Rajveer and Madhuri, who met and fell in love without their families' stamps of approval, arranged marriage almost kept them apart.

That is, until the determined couple called in the Love Commandos, a group of aging businessmen and journalists who began a movement to protect lovers from harassment by both Hindu and Muslim hard-liners, according to the BBC. The Love Commandos formed 10 years ago, and since then have opened up secret shelters to help rescue Indian couples who are in love but are in danger of being forced to marry someone else by their families.

With the help of the organization, Ravjeer and Madhuri escaped the confines of their village and made the trek to the Love Commandos' shelter in Delhi where they tied the knot.

According to UNICEF, arranged marriages make up about 90 percent of marriages in India. While proponents of arranged marriage say that there are many benefits to the practice -- such as marrying someone with a similar religious, financial and social background -- others feel that the custom is too often forced upon couples who would otherwise never wed.

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