The case of Hadiya aka Akhila, a 24-year-old woman in Kerala, who on the orders of the state’s High Court was put in detention in her family home after her father objected to her marriage to a Muslim man, sees a small glimmer of hope after her husband Shafin Jahan moved the apex court seeking a recall of the order directing a probe by the National Investigation Agency into allegations of ‘love jihad’.
Jahan has filed an application before the Supreme Court contending that “certain facts have emerged which call for a reconsideration” of the order, reports the legal news website LiveLaw.
Love jihad is a term popularised by those opposed to marriages between Hindu women and Muslim men on the allegation that these marriages were a ploy to convert Hindu women into Muslims. Hadiya’s father got custody of his daughter after he told the Court that her marriage was a case of love jihad.
In his application to the apex court, Jahan cites a video filmed by Rahul Iswar, a TV personality and activist, who had visited Hadiya’s house, in which she is seen arguing with her mother about her right to choose her religion.
An excerpt from Jahan’s application, quoted by LiveLaw reads thus. “Mr Easwar, after taking due consent from the family, filmed a video of the family, including the detenue. In the video, the detenue asks the following – “Is this house arrest what I deserve? Should this be the purpose of my life?”
Jahan contended before the court that the video proved that Hadiya did not wish to be kept under house arrest. Rahul Easwar had also gone on to tell news channel NDTV that Hadiya told him that “she wants to live and die as a Muslim.”
Jahan also sought to steer the attention of the court to the abuse of human rights of his wife Hadiya in her own parents’ house. She told Rahul Easwar in the video: “Ask my father and mother whether they torture and abuse me for following my religion and its practises?”
He pointed out that it revealed the clear mistreatment and abuse of Hadiya at the hands of her father (Respondent no 1).” Jahan also mentioned that complaints had been filed with the Kerala State Human Rights Commission regarding Hadiya’s detention.
Referring to a newspaper report that quoted P Mohandas, the acting President of the Human Rights Commission, saying “Akhila (Hadiya) is undergoing immense human rights violation at her house”, Jahan argued against keeping her under detention under her father’s control.
Describing another incident when women activists who visited Hadiya’s house were not allowed to see her, Jahan’s plea says, “When the Respondent No 1 (Hadiya’s father) did not allow them to meet her, they heard the detenue (Hadiya) cry out for help from a window, ‘Save me. They are beating me’.”
It proves there was a violation of her basic human rights as well as her fundamental rights, he said and prayed to the court to ensure that his wife is not subjected to such cruelty.
Pointing out that the National Investigation Agency had begun its probe despite Justice R V Raveendran, who was appointed to supervise the investigation, refusing to do have anything to do with it, Jahan said that itself was a violation of court’s orders.
“That the intent of the order of this Hon’ble Court dated 16.8.2017 was to ensure that the investigation of the NIA was fair and for the same reason, Justice Raveendran was appointed. Therefore, now since the above reports are surfacing that the NIA has already commenced an investigation and already found a link, all without the guidance of Justice Raveendran, the worst fears of the Petitioners have therefore been realised,” his petition said.
“Such an investigation is clearly not fair and is against the orders of this Hon’ble Court,” he pointed out.
Stating that Hadiya had accepted Islam on her accord, the petition alleges that she was being deprived of a dignified life and liberty as she is under detention.
The petitioner also sought a direction to the Director General of Police, (Law and Order), Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala to produce Hadiya before the Supreme Court.