Who are Love Commandos?
With a vision of uniting love birds who have attained the legal age of marriage, Love Commandos, a voluntary organization, provides them shelter, protection and unite these couples.
In a short spell of just four years, the group claims to have united over 30,000 couples.
According to Sanjoy Sachdev, Chairman of Love Commandos, "We want lovers to unite no matter which caste, community, religion or place they come from. There should be a society where love prevails over everything."
The organization mainly operates in Delhi from its office in Paharganj area.
It claims to give protection to couples and guards them from the wrath of their angry parents, families or police.
It also helps the couples fight harassment and gives them shelter so they can marry freely.
When and how Love Commandos came into existence?
The organisation started on July 2010 after it helped a couple in Delhi to unite after the boy was falsely charged by the girl's family and had registered a police case against him.
How it operates?
Its feisty, relentless fight for the cause of love continues unabated despite paucity of funds as one of its shelter homes operates as the group's makeshift office.
The organisation has two helpline numbers that ring simultaneously in twelve cities across the country and on receiving a valid call for help the commandos swing into action.
Even though they only have seven permanent shelter homes across Delhi and NCR, the group sets up temporary shelter homes in other parts of the country whenever the need arises.
"If a couple needs assistance at place other than Delhi or NCR, we set up a shelter home nearby that area till the time we rehabilitated them," says Sachdev.
Why the organization maintains a low key?
The organization too faces constant threats from the families of the boys and girls whom it had united and hence prefers to exist in perpetual liminality.
Also, too much visibility and media attention of the organization might ultimately lead to exposure of the eloped lovers.
"There are police cases lodged against many people whom we are helping and there are several groups who do not want us to continue with our activity," claims Sachdev.
Circumstances often compel the organisation to constantly keep shifting their shelter homes.
How the group receives funds?
Despite suffering under severe financial crush the organization has refrained from asking any help from the government.
"It is becoming very difficult to operate with the soaring price of food, water, electricity, etc. We receive donations from people. Even legendary tennis player Bjorn Borg had donated to us twice," says Sachdev.
Police hostilities towards lovers forces the group to come to their rescue
The organization also alleges hostilities by police against the love birds. The couples accuse the cops of filing cases coming under pressure from their parties involved.
In some cases, families lodged FIR of kidnapping and rape against the boys even when the decision to marry or elope was a consensual one. The police often do not crosscheck the complaints, alleges the organization.