Kerala ‘love jihad’: Don’t want daughter to be a human bomb, says Hadiya’s father
K M Ashokan, the father of Hadiya who converted to Islam to marry, says there is a vicious campaign to recruit young girls and push them into danger zones such Syria and Afghanistan.Updated: Oct 08, 2017 17:00 IST
Ahead of another hearing in the Supreme Court on Monday on the annulment of a Kerala woman’s marriage by the state’s high court in May after she was allegedly converted to Islam forcibly by an organisation with suspected terror links, her father said he has full faith in the judiciary and insisted that he did not want his daughter to end up as a human bomb.
Talking to Hindustan Times over the phone, K M Ashokan (59), an ex-serviceman said many rights activists and others were running a virulent campaign against his family but nobody tried to understand the pain and agony of parents. He said he was not against any religion or conversion but he opposed a vicious campaign that pushed innocent girls into volatile areas.
The case hit the headlines after Akhila Ashokan (24), a homeopathy doctor converted to Islam and took the name of Hadiya and married a Muslim youth Shefin Jahan from Kollam in south Kerala. Her father had approached the Kerala high court in May claiming his daughter was indoctrinated and forcibly converted. Later, the HC annulled the marriage and sent Hadiya to her father’s custody in Vaikkom, a small town 200 kms north of Thiruvananthapuram.
On October 3, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra questioned the Kerala high court order annulling the marriage after an appeal by Shefin Jahan.
“My only daughter is the apple of my eyes. I don’t want her to be a human bomb. Working in the Middle East Jahan came only for the marriage and he would have taken my daughter there and pushed her to volatile areas,” he said, adding that his first priority was not to convince rights groups or others but save his daughter from vicious elements. He said he said he firmly believes that if he hadn’t have moved the court his daughter would have landed in an alien land.
“No father would like to send his daughter to violence-hit areas of Afghanistan or Syria. I filed a habeas corpus in the high court when my daughter started talking about life in Syria. Do you want me to face the fate of parents of missing 21 from the state?” he said adding his daughter’s case has many similarities with the 21 young men and women who went missing from Kerala last year and are suspected to have joined the Islamic State.
Six of the 21 have been killed so far, mostly in drone attacks in Afghanistan.
The ex-serviceman said the case of the missing 21 really opened his eyes. “There are many similarities between these two cases. Some of the persons and institutions involved in indoctrinating them are same. I don’t want to get into details now. I don’t want my daughter to face similar situation,” he said.
Ashokan also insisted that his fight was not against any religion or belief but against ‘a well-entrenched racket that recruits innocent and sends them to the trouble-torn areas.’
“I am an atheist and I don’t believe in any god. I would be the happiest if my daughter would have converted and married a Muslim youth in a proper way. As the high court said this marriage was a sham and fixed by certain fundamentalist elements,” he said, adding that Sehfin was an active member of the Popular Front of India, an extremist outfit, and involved in many cases.
“No father would like to sacrifice his only daughter knowing all facts,” he said. Ashokan insisted that his daughter was not under house arrest and that he also was facing threats. “We face innumerable threats. Due to this we couldn’t interact much with the outside world in the last four months. As a father I only wish good for my daughter and I can’t push her into imminent danger,” he said.
Ashokan said he was confident that his daughter would realise this soon.