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In Kerala, Hindu woman alleges torture for marrying Christian man

The woman told the police that she was forced to attend classes at Arsha Vidya Samajam where only the evils of other religions were taught.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2017 20:23 IST
Ramesh Babu K C
Ramesh Babu K C
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram 
Conversion row,Arsha Vidya Samajam,Kochi
Religious vigilantism in matters of marriage continues to blight Kerala.(Shutterstock)

Police in Kochi have registered a case against five people including the director of a Hindu charitable trust after a 26-year-old woman filed a complaint on Monday alleging that she was forcibly detained at the centre and physically and mentally tortured for marrying a Christian man.

The incident comes two days after a 22-year-old woman hailing from north Kerala claimed to have returned to Hinduism after having converted to Islam.

In the latest case, the woman named Shweta said she was forcibly taken to the centre by her parents who conspired with the man running the Arsha Vidya Samajam - its director Guruji Manoj - and tried to force her to marry a Hindu man. She also alleged that at least 65 other women and girls were detained at the centre. She also claimed that she escaped from the centre on August 21 and went back to stay with her husband.

Following her complaint police registered a case against Guruji Manoj and four others. By Monday evening Shweta told local television channels that she married her husband Rinto Thomas in a court and there was no question religious conversion.

“There were such 65 girls illegally detained at the centre and many complained that they were physically and mentally tortured. I was forced to attend classes where only evils of other religions were taught,” she said in her complaint. A senior police officer of Kochi said police have launched investigation into her complaint.

Read more: Kerala love jihad: Women’s panel to move SC to file fact-finding report

The woman’s allegations have surfaced at a time when the state women commission decided to move the Supreme Court seeking its permission to meet Akhila Ashokan alias Hadiya Jahan who is reportedly confined to her home. Her marriage with a Muslim youth Shafin Jahan was annulled by the Kerala high court in May and later Supreme Court ordered the NIA to probe circumstances that led to their marriage.

Many activists have alleged that Akhila was confined illegally and undergoing serious rights violations at home. Her husband had also moved the apex court recently with a plea to stop the NIA investigation. Her marriage was annulled after her father claimed that she would be sent to a war-torn area like the 21 young men and women who have gone missing from the state.

Two days ago Athira (22), who left her home in July to convert to Islam, held a press conference in Kochi claiming that she returned to Hindu fold. She said she was influenced by the speeches of Muslim cleric Zakir Naik and some activists of the Popular Front of India, a fundamentalist outfit, supported her. She claimed that she happened to learn more about Hinduism at Arsha Vidya Samajam. The Hindu charitable trust recently claimed that it brought back at least 2000 Hindu girls who converted to other religions in four years.

First Published: Sep 25, 2017 20:23 IST