HEARING A petition related to an inter-faith marriage, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday remarked, “don’t say love jihad in every here and there”.
The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by one Anees Ahammed seeking an order that his wife Sruthi Meledath be released from her family’s custody.
Sruthi had alleged that after their inter-faith marriage, her family had forcibly kept her at Siva Sakthi Yoga Vidya Kendram near Kochi, which helps “reconvert” Hindu women who have embraced another religion. Last week, she had deposed before the court that she was tortured by counsellors and yoga trainers at the centre when she refused to leave Anees.
When the pleader for the yoga centre stated that the marriage of Anees and Sruthi was a case of love jihad, the division bench of Justices V Chitambaresh and Sathish Ninan said habeas corpus petitions should not be sensationalised. “Don’t say love jihad in every here and there,’’ it said.
After examining the marriage documents, the court allowed Sruthi to go with Anees.
Sruthi, 24, and Anees, 25, were college mates in Kannur. After their marriage, Sruthi’s parents moved a habeas corpus petition in the high court in May this year. She was produced in court and then allowed to go with Anees. Later, her parents reportedly took her to the yoga centre and kept her there for nearly two months.
This comes three days after the Kerala government told the Supreme Court that a state police investigation into the marriage of a Muslim man to a Hindu woman who had embraced Islam had not found anything that would warrant a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Shafin Jahan, whose marriage to Akhila Asokan alias Hadiya was set aside in May by the Kerala High Court which entrusted her custody to her parents, had sought recall of the Supreme Court’s earlier order which directed the NIA to probe whether there was a wider pattern of alleged love jihad in the case.
Meanwhile, a Christian helpline, set up on the lines of Hindu Helpline to prevent “love jihad”, on Tuesday moved the Kerala High Court to implead in another case related to inter-faith marriage. It said love jihad exists not just to woo Hindu women but also Christian women. The court posted the petition for October 19.
The Christian helpline, based in Kochi, was set up by Ranjith Abraham Thomas, a leader of the BJP’s minority cell, this year. The helpline has enlisted volunteers to identify victims of “love jihad” and bring them back to the Christian faith.