14th September 2011, Pahar Ganj, Delhi, India. The Love Commandos L-R: Sonu Rangi, Commando Coordinator; Rajesh Malhotra, Delhi State Coordinator; Harsh Malhotra ,Chief Coordinator; Govinda Chand, Delhi State Commando Coordinator; Sunil Sagar, Commando Trainer.
The Love Commandos is a small organisation that was established in July 2010 and is based in Delhi. It is staffed by Indian activists devoted to providing help and assistance to Indian couples facing threats, violence, monetary difficulties and other problems associated with love marriages in India. Specifically they tackle the iniquity of so-called ‘honour killings’ that are still so common across the country.
The Love Commandos have 2,000 plus volunteers from different spheres of life across the country. While founder Sanjoy Sachdeva is a journalist, his Chief Coordinator Harsh Malhotra is a garment businessman. They also have lawyers, doctors, daily wagers and others as volunteers. They have five centres in the national capital plus there are others in Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
So what do they do when they get a distress call?
“Initially, we try to counsel the couple over the phone. If the matter is serious, then we send out a team to the area, which will take help from the local police to rescue the couple. Then depending on what they want to do, we either marry them off or give them protection till they reach a decision. Most police forces cooperate with us except for the Uttar Pradesh police, which is a shame, because we receive maximum number of distress calls from UP,” Sachdeva says.
PHOTOGRAPH BY AND COPYRIGHT OF SIMON DE TREY-WHITE
+ 91 98103 99809
+ 91 11 435 06980
+44 07966 405896
+44 1963 220 745