The Telegraph
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Call for probe into Hadiya 'ghar-wapsi' bid

First published on 30-Nov-2017

New Delhi: Bandhua Mukti Morcha chairman and social activist Swami Agnivesh today accused the CPM-led government in Kerala of indulging in "soft-Hindutva" and demanded a probe into how "ghar wapsi" advocates - allegedly backed by the RSS - were allowed access to Hadiya at her house in Kerala when she was under police protection.

Briefing mediapersons in the capital, Agnivesh said now that Hadiya has disclosed the efforts to re-convert her back to Hinduism by a Kerala-based yoga centre, the Supreme Court - which is hearing the case of alleged "love jihad" centred around the 25-year-old woman - should order a probe into the aspect of forced re-conversion by RSS-backed groups.

"If what Hadiya has said about the yoga centre and it being backed by the RSS is correct, then it should be probed. The narrative of Hindutva, cultural nationalism and ghar-wapsi (re-conversion to Hinduism) will create problems for our society," Agnivesh said. "Kerala is an example of communal harmony and the RSS is creating a mischievous atmosphere which we all should take note of."

About the Kerala government's stance in the case, Agnivesh maintained that it should have objected to the NIA probe at the outset itself. "What does the NIA have to do with personal matters? This is about an adult woman's right to choose her own religion and partner. Kerala government seems to be treading a soft Hindutva line."

As for the allegations of Hadiya being part of an ISIS plot to convert Hindu girls to Islam and take them to fight battles elsewhere, Agnivesh shot back: "Let them order a probe into this aspect but this has nothing to do with the personal life of two individuals. Let them first show some evidence. This strategy of making allegations to build a narrative and then interfering with personal freedom is not correct."

Earlier in the day, upon reaching her college in Salem, Hadiya told reporters that she was regularly counselled by people from Siva Sakti Yoga Centre. She also alleged that they had tortured her and forced her to do a press conference claiming a return to Sanatan Dharma.

The yoga centre in the Ernakulam district of Kerala was closed down a couple of months back after a couple of women complained about being tortured and forced to reconvert. In most of the complaints, it was the parents - as in Hadiya's case - who insisted on getting their daughters counselled.

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