In an unusual case, a teacher couple from the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has been sacked from their job on the day of their wedding, with the school management claiming that their "romance could adversely affect the students".
Tariq Bhat and Sumaya Bashir, who worked for Pampore Muslim Educational Institute, received their termination letters on 30 November. They, however, claimed that theirs was an arrange marriage and there was no romance as alleged by the school management.
Bhat was reportedly employed in the boy's wing of the educational institute, while his newly wed wife was with the girl's wing. Both have worked at the institute for the past several years and claimed that their termination came without any prior notice.
The school principal did not respond to requests for comments, but chairman Bashir Masoodi told the Hindustan Times that the couple was terminated by the school management because they were in a "romantic relationship" before getting married.
"They were having romance and it is not good for the 2,000 students of the school and 200 staff members working there. This can adversely affect the students," Masoodi reportedly said.
The couple, meanwhile, said that the school management was well aware they never dated before marriage. Bhat even said that they intimated the school management about the nuptial a month in advance and no one objected then.
"We got engaged a few months ago and the entire school management knew about it as Sumaya hosted a party for the staff members soon after the engagement ceremony," Bhat told the paper.
"We both applied for leave to get married almost a month before the wedding day and the school management sanctioned the leave. If we were in a romantic relationship, did they come to know of it only after we announced our wedding plans?"
Bhat also complained that they were never given a chance to present their side of the story.
He added that Bashir and himself have done nothing to be ashamed of. They accused the school of "tarnishing" their image. "We have got married which is the right thing to do from which ever perspective one looks at it. We have not sinned or committed a crime."