A woman in Kerala’s Kasargod who wanted to convert to Islam and had run away from home has returned to her parents and received counselling from a Hindu outfit. Athira (23), left home on July 10 leaving behind a letter stating her intention to convert to Islam, appeared before police on July 27. When she refused to go home, she was sent to a women’s hostel.
The college student said she was attracted to Islam because of her Muslim classmates. “I was attracted to Islam because of my Muslim classmates in college. I was influenced by the speeches of Zakir Naik. I developed an interest in the monotheism when friends (Muslim) spoke against idol worship in Hinduism. Now, my misunderstandings about Hinduism have been cleared and I have returned to my religion,” Athira said on Friday.
Kasargod circle inspector Vishwambaran Nair said the police was investigating to ascertain the facts behind Athira’s disappearance. He said she was helped by activists of PFI. After she returned home, Athira went through some sessions of counselling by a Kochi-based organisation called the Arsha Vidhya Samajam, which is believed to have convinced her to stay a Hindu.
Athira said activists of the Popular Front of India, a Muslim outfit, had helped her to be in hiding after she left home on July 10. The student said she was helped by her Muslim friend Shareefa and her brother Siraj, who is a PFI activist. Athira stayed with Shareefa before turning up before Kasaragod police on July 27. She is believed to have gone to the police according to the advice of some PFI activists.
Athira’s parents moved a habeas corpus in Kerala High Court which asked her to go to her parents. As Athira stuck to her stand on religion, her parents told her that she would be allowed to live as a Muslim, after which she consented to join her family. Later, activists of the Arsha Vidhya Samajam visited her and took her for counselling at its Kochi centre.