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The Kerala Marriage Which Led to NIA Probe on 'Love Jihad'

The Kerala High Court had earlier declared the marriage of Shafin Jahan and Hadiya (Akhila) as "null and void". The division bench of Justices K Surendran Mohan and K Abraham Mathew said the marriage was a sham and had no consequence in the eyes of the law.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:August 16, 2017, 10:10 PM IST
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The Kerala Marriage Which Led to NIA Probe on 'Love Jihad'
Representative Image (Image: Reuters)
Thiruvananthapuram: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a National Investigation Agency-led (NIA) probe into a case in which the marriage of a Hindu woman to a Muslim man was annulled by the Kerala High Court. The High Court had called the marriage a sham, passing its order last May.

Here’s what the case is about:

The Kerala High Court had earlier declared the marriage of Shafin Jahan and Hadiya (Akhila) as "null and void". The division bench of Justices K Surendran Mohan and K Abraham Mathew said the marriage was a sham and had no consequence in the eyes of the law.

The High Court also said a 24-year-old girl is weak and vulnerable, capable of being exploited in many ways. Her marriage - being the most important decision of her life - can be taken only with the active involvement of her parents.

The High Court, in its May 24, 2017, order, said that this is not a case of a girl falling in love with a boy of a different religion and wanting to get married. In such cases, the court has accepted the choice of the girl. The alleged marriage only a makes a belief intended to take her out of the reach of her parents and the court.

Ashokan, the father of Akhila ( Hadiya), was granted the custody of his daughter.

Ashokan, a resident of Kottayam, had approached the Kerala High court twice - first a habeas corpus and later, a writ petition was filed. Akhila was a student of BHMS in Tamil Nadu. Her father had filed a habeas corpus after she left his house.

Ashokan told the court that she was influenced and persuaded to convert to Islam. He held her friend, and the friend's father responsible for this.

Akhila alias Hadiya in her statement to the court said that she got attracted to Islam observing her roommates. She wanted to learn more about Islam. "I got attracted and started reading books and watching internet videos out of interest to learn more about Islam," her statement said.

She also told the court that she was well within her rights to choose a religion of her choice.

In January 2016, on the habeas corpus, the court found that she was not under any illegal confinement and allowed her to reside at the place of her own choice.

She refuses to go with her parents and goes along with Sainaba, a social worker. She also said she will join the Satyasarani Institute in Malappuram to study Islam.

Ashokan filed a writ petition again in August 2016 stating that there was a move to take his daughter out of the country. There was a background of 21 Kerala youth missing and suspected to have joined ISIS. The court moved her to a private hostel and told the police to ensure that she didn't travel out of the country.

Akhila alias Hadiya told the court again that she had taken up Islam on her own free will and she wanted to continue to reside with Sainaba. She also informed the court that she didn't have a passport, so there was no question of her travelling to Syria, as alleged.

Her father also apprised the court that she had not completed her house surgency. She filed an affidavit before the court that she was willing to complete the course and go back to her college.

It was on December 21, 2016, when she was supposed to appear in court that she informed she has married.

The father alleged that the marriage was only an eyewash; a way to take his daughter out of the country.

The court said that the proceedings of the case were on. They did not inform the court about the marriage. In its order, the High Court had said that the "court was perturbed and concerned at the subterfuge practised and recorded dissatisfaction at the manner in which the entire exercise was done."

The High Court also said that the secrecy and the hurried manner in which marriage was conducted creates suspicion.

The court asked the Police to conduct a thorough investigation into all the allegations, the role of the organisation and to also see if there were any links with extremist organisations.

The court said that according to the police report, Shafin Jahan, Hadiya's husband, is an accused in a criminal case, a member of SDPI party and is said to have radical views.

The High Court had also asked about the source of income of the girl and Sainaba. The court sought to know who she was residing with. The court said: "They are not facing any paucity of funds. It points to the existence of an organisation set up behind the scenes."

Jahan stated that the high court wasn't guarding the couple's constitutional rights while giving such an order. The court has also directed that the girl should be sent to her parents. Jahan had moved the supreme court after this decision.

Shafin said that Hadiya and he married on December 19, 2016, after meeting in November through a matrimonial website.

Hadiya converted to Islam in 2015. "She left her parents' house after they objected to her decision of converting to Islam. That's when her parents filed the first habeas corpus," Jahan said.
| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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