Hadiya, a Kerala-based Hindu girl Akhila who converted to Islam and later married a Muslim man, Shafin Jahan, appeared before the Supreme Court on Monday and said she wanted her freedom back. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra posted the next date of hearing on the third week of January and in the meantime allowed the 24-year-old to resume her job as a house surgeon in Salem-based Homeo Medical College.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Hadiya’s father K M Ashokan have contended that Hadiya had been indoctrinated by radical groups and her consent was not free.
The Indian Express on Saturday reported that the NIA, in its status report to the top court last week, attached Hadiya’s statement in which she refuted claims of any pressure to convert to Islam or marry Jahan and said that she married of her own free will and decided to convert voluntarily.
Even before leaving for Delhi on Saturday, she told media at the Kochi airport, “I am a Muslim. I have embraced Islam of my own free will. Nobody has compelled me to become a Muslim. I want justice. I want to live with my husband.” She was accompanied by her parents.
Kerala ‘love jihad’ case LIVE updates:
5.28 pm: SC directs that Hadiya be taken to college for her studies and that college should allow hostel facility to her. Next date of hearing fixed for the third week of January.
4.45 pm: CJI Dipak Misra asks Hadiya, ‘Do you want to continue your studies on state’s expense?’ “I want to but not on state’s expense. My husband can take care of me,” she says
4.40 pm: I want my freedom, Hadiya says in Supreme Court
4.30 pm: Counsel for Hadiya’s father says material submitted by NIA should be looked into and then her version should be heard. “There’s an operational apparatus existing for conversion,” the counsel told SC
4.21 pm: The National Investigating Agency (NIA) had submitted a 100-page probe report to the Supreme Court and included Hadiya’s testimony that she married of her own free will
4.17 pm: Kapil Sibal further told SC that when Hadiya was here, the court should listen to her, not the NIA and that she was entitled to make decisions of her life
4.05 pm: Appearing for Hadiya’s husband Shafi Jahan, Kapil Sibal told the Supreme Court that he was really saddened since instead of asking Hadiya on what she wanted people were talking about the venom filled in news channels
3.30 pm: Hadiya arrives at Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra’s courtroom for hearing
The apex court had in August asked the NIA to probe the case after Jahan had challenged Kerala High Court which nullified their marriage and gave Hadiya’s custody to her father KM Ashokan.
Also, the NIA, in its earlier report to the court, had claimed there was a “well-oiled machinery working in Kerala” involved in indoctrination and radicalisation of women, and 89 such cases had been reported. It claimed that the court could invoke parental authority even if Hadiya was an adult, as her case suggested that she was radicalised.
Ashokan had also alleged that she had been indoctrinated by radical groups.
The Supreme Court had said that only after talking to Hadiya, it could consider the NIA’s and Ashokan’s contention that Hadiya had been indoctrinated.
Meanwhile, last week, her father had urged the court to conduct in-camera proceeding due to the communally sensitive nature of the case and threats from radical elements to him and his family.