Monday, 30th October 2017

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Kerala U-turn on Hadiya investigation

The Kerala government did an about-turn on Monday and told the Supreme Court it should pass its verdict in the Hadiya "love jihad" case only after considering the National Investigation Agency's probe report.

By R. Balaji
  • Published 28.11.17
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New Delhi: The Kerala government did an about-turn on Monday and told the Supreme Court it should pass its verdict in the Hadiya "love jihad" case only after considering the National Investigation Agency's probe report.

The CPM-led government's stand came as a surprise as it had earlier filed an affidavit saying it had not found any material in the case to warrant an NIA investigation.

Kerala High Court had used the term "love jihad" as it annulled Hadiya's marriage with Shafin Jahan in May saying she had been brainwashed by radical groups to convert and marry with the possible aim of recruiting her as a militant.

An apex court bench headed by then Chief Justice J.S. Khehar had ordered the NIA probe on August 16 after Shafin, 26, challenged the annulment of the marriage and sought Hadiya's production from her parental home, where the high court had sent her.

The NIA has submitted a series of status reports to the apex court in sealed covers and testified orally that it suspects Hadiya to be a victim of "love jihad".

Additional solicitor-general Maninder Singh, appearing for the agency, reiterated on Monday that the agency had observed a pattern in Kerala of Hindu women being indoctrinated and induced into conversion and marriage by radical organisations like the People's Front of India (PFI) and extremists linked to the Islamic State.

He said the court should examine the status reports before passing any directions. Responding to questions from the bench, Kerala government counsel V. Giri agreed.

"In the materials submitted by the NIA which are already there... your lordships would look into it and then decide. I am saying this as an officer of this court and counsel of the state," he said.

The bench too said it had a duty to strike a balance between an individual's right to lead her own life and the issue of any possible "trafficking" of innocent girls as alleged by the NIA.

Two NIA officials have, however, told The Telegraph that the agency harbours "prima facie" suspicion of induced conversions and radicalisation in only nine of the 90 cases of conversion-cum-marriage it has been asked to probe in the state.

They said two of the nine women under the scanner had acknowledged being brainwashed by the PFI into eloping and marrying Muslim men.

Hadiya's father Ashokan, represented by senior advocate Shyam Divan, had suggested that Monday's hearing take place in camera but the bench rejected the plea.