Updated: December 18, 2018 5:40:49 pm
KM Ashokan, the father of Hadiya, a Kerala woman who converted to Islam and married a Muslim man, has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) through an online membership campaign last week. BJP state spokesperson B Gopalakrishnan officially issued the membership card to Ashokan at a Sabarimala protest meeting in TV Puram on Sunday. Over 50 others joined the BJP on the same day, Vaikom constituency president PG Bijukumar said.
Ashokan told the Indian Express that even though he took the party’s formal membership on Sunday, he has been associated with the BJP for the last four years. He identified himself as a former sympathiser of the CPM who has lost faith in the party over the years.
“They have been uprooted from Tripura and Bengal. In Kerala, the people will throw them out too in a similar fashion,” he added. Ashokan said he was drawn to the RSS-BJP ideology as it was ‘nationalist’ in nature and has done a lot for the ex-servicemen community. “As a former military man, I’m indebted to the government at the Centre. They have done a lot to revise our salaries. The Congress was in power for such a long time, why couldn’t they do anything?” he asked.
On the Sabarimala issue, on which the BJP in Kerala has been leading agitations against the ruling LDF government, Ashokan remarked that temple traditions and rituals are there for a reason and must not be violated. He said he will support the party’s agitation in whichever way he can.
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Ashokan’s daughter, Hadiya, formerly called Akhila, embraced Islam in January 2016. Months later, she married Shefin Jahan, a Muslim, triggering allegations of “love jihad”. Ashokan moved the Kerala High Court which annulled the marriage and gave custody of Hadiya to her parents’ in May 2017.
However, in March this year, the Supreme Court allowed Hadiya to live with her husband, setting aside the Kerala High Court order that had annulled their marriage. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, however, allowed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to continue its investigation into the case.
The NIA, meanwhile, has been probing whether Hadiya was forced to convert to Islam. The NIA’s probe, on direction from the Supreme Court, began in August last year.
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