Holding a copy of the Supreme Court order he got from a local reporter, G Kannan, principal of the privately-run Sivaraj Homeopathic Medical College, was busy making arrangements for the arrival of Akhila Asokan, now Hadiya, on Tuesday evening when mediapersons told him that her flight has landed at Coimbatore — a two-hour drive from the college.
“We have no information except what we learnt from media reports and the copies of the order journalists shared with us. Since it is a Supreme Court order and everyone is saying it is a sensitive case, we have asked for police protection for as many days as possible,” he said.
The principal was also seen asking mediapersons if the court had appointed him Hadiya’s guardian.
Two dozen Tamil Nadu police personnel headed by DCP G Subulakshmi and Kalpana Sivaraj, MD of the college, were busy in the preparations too. Subulakshmi said, “There is no official communication. We will give 24X7 protection at the college and hostel for sometime,” she said.
College authorities and police were also seen checking the CCTV cameras and gates.
Around 7 pm, Hadiya reached the college with Kerala police personnel. She had no luggage except a small bag. After she completed the paperwork to resume her course, Hadiya was taken to the hostel, about 8 km away, in a private vehicle.
Before she left, Hadiya was asked whether she wanted to tell anything to her father. “I spoke to them,” she said. About her plans after finishing the course, she said she wants to work.
The college has 700-odd students in various streams, including Siddha medicine. The two hostels house about a 100 students and have two wardens. Students travel between the college and hostel in a college bus.
Principal Kannan said Hadiya will follow the same rules as any other student.
Will she be allowed to use a cellphone, watch TV or go out of the college?
Kannan said students are allowed to use cellphones at the hostel for only an hour in a day. “(Cellphones are) strictly restricted on college campus. In view of this sensitive case, we are also considering banning cellphones for all students in hostel. Since they are here to study, a phone with the warden is more than enough,” he said, adding that the hostel does not have a TV.
As per rules, students are to report in college at 8.45 am and lights at hostel are turned off at 10.30 pm. “Once in a week, they may be allowed to go out for shopping but they are escorted by a warden,” said Kannan.
Will Asokan, Hadiya’s father, and Shefin Jahan, her husband, be allowed to meet her?
“See, I do not know who her husband is. She is still Akhila for us, and her guardians are her parents who admitted her. In the present scenario, I will not allow anyone except her parents. We will make sure that I or an official are present when her parents visit her,” Kannan said.
However, while leaving the college office, Hadiya said she will be allowed to meet her husband, adding that the police had promised that.
All batchmates of Hadiya, who joined the BHMS course in 2010, including her two Muslim friends who inspired her to convert, completed their courses in 2016. “She has to spend another 11 months here,” Kannan said.