The term ‘love jihad’ is back in news after Akhila, a Hindu girl, converted to Muslim and changed her name to Hadiya.
Let’s have a look at the chronology of events in this case.
January 2016: Hindu girl, Akhila, converts to Islam:
Hadiya was previously known as Akhila Ashokan. While pursuing her degree she decided to convert to the Islamic faith. The reason for her conversion is still in vein but she said to the court that it was her personal choice. In January 2016, she officially converted to Islam and left her home. Apart from taking up a course in Islam, she also approached a conversion center called Satya Sarani in Kerala. During this period, she changed her name from Akhila to Hadiya.
February 2016: Akhila’s father, Ashokan files a petition:
After her disappearance, Akhila’s father filled a missing complaint at the local police station. After learning about his daughter’s intentions, he filed a habeas corpus petition against Satya Sarani and blamed that they were responsible for “forced and illegal” religious conversions. Her father alleged that she compelled to convert to Islam for the purpose of recruitment in terror organizations and held captive by her husband, Shafin Jahan. Thus, this case was dubbed as the ‘Love Jihad’ case.
May 2017: Kerala High Court nullifies marriage
Based on her father’s petition, the court annuls their marriage. Through his advocate, Hadiya’s father said that he has video and audio clips to prove that Jahan has terrorist links. This argument was supported by National Investigation Agency (NIA) as well. They further stated that he had links to the IS. Based on all these arguments the court decided to give Hadiya custody to her parent.
August 2017: Shefin challenges the court’s orders
After the Kerala High Court declares the marriage as null, Shefin decides to approach the Supreme Court to get a fair stand. However, the SC took note of the previous judgments passed by the HC and further reinstated that there were radical groups influencing young girls to convert to Islam. This infuriated Shefin and decided to hire two top-notch lawyers (Kapil Sibal and Indira Jaising) to win the case for him. Later on, the Kerala government decided to bring in the National Investigation Agency to probe further in this case. The HC judgment brought in stiff opposition and even a hartal was organized.
October 26th2017: Video showing Akhila pleading for help
This was what she said in a short clip released by Rahul Eswar, Akhila’s lawyer. He couldn’t release the entire video as he feared Akhila life.
November 2017: Hadiya’s way to the court:
Being under the custody of her father, she was not allowed contact anyone else and was not permitted to leave her home. Even when the SC asked to bring Hadiya to the court he wrote a petition for in-camera proceeding. However, the SC dismissed the petition.
So on November 27, she headed to the SC to give her statement. On her way to the court she screamed, “I was not forcibly converted nor was I forced to marry. I want to go with my husband and I should get justice.” During the court proceeding, she said that she wants freedom and wants to stay with her husband.
The next court proceeding is likely to be held in January.