Sharma made the remarks after meeting Hadiya, a 24-year-old woman whose marriage with a Muslim man is at the centre of a nationwide controversy, and some girls allegedly forced to convert, here yesterday. Josephine said the NCW chief had made the remarks without understanding the real situation in Kerala. “The NCW chairperson in-charge made such a statement as part of an effort to show Kerala in poor light at a national level,” she alleged.
Sharma claimed that some girls who met her told her how they were “manipulated” and how “forced conversions” took place. “Many types of lures, many other threatenings, blackmailing, all types of things are happening. This is not one small thing which we are reading in Delhi…. But this is getting serious,” she told reporters here after meeting girls. After meeting Hadiya, Sharma said the issue of alleged “forced conversion” of girls in Kerala is getting serious.
The NCW chief met Hadiya at her family home in Vaikom in Kottayam district, a week after the Supreme Court directed her father to produce her before it on November 27. The court is hearing an appeal by Shafin Jahan, challenging the annulment of their marriage by the Kerala High Court, saying it was an insult to the independence of women in the country. The Kerala High Court had annulled it after her parents argued he was a radicalised person and sent her to their custody.
There had been complaints from Muslim bodies in Kerala that the 24-year-old woman’s rights were being violated after being confined to her home. “I just met Akhila – Hadiya. NCW was concerned about her well-being. She is in good health, she has not been beaten up or anything, she is eating her food and she was smiling, she was happy,” Sharma said, adding there were no security issues.