Vandna left everything behind when she fled her parents' home in India to be with the man she loved, giving up family, friends and the studies she hoped would help her become a teacher. It is only thanks to the Love Commandos, a New Delhi-based organisation that helps desperate couples who have defied their families, that the 22-year-old and her new husband have a roof over their heads. The organisation is the brainchild of former journalist Sanjoy Sachdev, who launched it in 2010 after coming to the aid of a young man falsely accused of rape by the family of the woman he wanted to marry. Since then, it has helped thousands of desperate couples in the socially conservative country, giving them sanctuary in safe houses and access to legal advice. The organisation operates seven apartments in the Indian capital, but can also call on 300 couples to take in lovers fleeing relatives' wrath for a short period. Like many young women in India, Vandna was expected to marry a man chosen by her parents, who were furious when they discovered her relationship with Dilip, whom she married in July. They first stopped her from going to college, where she was studying business and accountancy, and then hastily arranged a marriage to a male relative. She fled the family home a day before the marriage was due to take place. "I haven't called my parents or my friends since I left," Vandna said. Sachdev says that violence against young people who choose their partners against their parents' wishes is still a big issue in India. "Because of caste, religious, economic or social status issues, many times parents still oppose their children's relationship," he said, adding that some relationships even end in honour killings. India has for centuries seen killings that target young couples whose families or communities disapprove of their relationships. The killings are carried out by close relatives or village elders to protect what is seen as the family's reputation and pride. That was the fate of 21-year-old Bhawna Yadav, whose parents and uncle are accused of conspiring to kill her and dispose of her body after she married in secret. Her family had wanted her to marry a man from the Yadav caste to which her husband Abhishek Seth did not belong. Sachdev says the authorities need to do better at protecting young couples, and even calls on political parties to come up with an "agenda for the protection of lovers' rights".