K M Ashokan, who was at the centre of the Kerala religious conversion row after his daughter converted to Islam and subsequently married a Muslim man, has formally joined the BJP.
Ashokan was welcomed to BJP on Monday during a party grassroots level campaign to “protect” the traditions at the Sabarimala temple. The party function was organised to protest against the Supreme Court verdict allowing female devotees of all ages entry into the temple.
In January 2016, Ashokan’s daughter Akhila had converted to Islam and taken the name Hadiya. Later, she married Shefin Jahan of her own choice. Matters came to a head when Hadiya’s family approached the Kerala High Court to annul her marriage. The HC annulled the marriage and gave her custody to her parents. In March this year, the Supreme Court set aside the HC verdict, allowing Hadiya to live with her husband.
Ashokan said, “During my legal fight, only the BJP came forward to support me. Both CPI and CPI (M) had remained silent. Only BJP stood with me during the hour of crisis. Hence, I have decided to join that party. Now, Sabarimala issue has turned to be an immediate provocation for joining BJP.”
He also 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,” he said.