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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Kerala man says his teenage daughter sexually assaulted, forcibly converted

The woman’s father has alleged that the Kerala Police have been dragging their feet in the case and have not arrested the accused despite his complaint.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2019 21:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
HindustanTimes, Thiruvananthapuram
The woman’s father alleged that the accused blackmailed his daughter and forced her to convert to Islam.
The woman’s father alleged that the accused blackmailed his daughter and forced her to convert to Islam. (PTI FILE PHOTO)
         

The father of a 19-year-old woman moved the Kerala High Court Monday alleging that his daughter was lured into a relationship by a Muslim man in north Kerala’s Kozhikkode, sexually assaulted and forced to embrace Islam.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) and National Minority Commission have condemned the incident and sought independent inquiry.

“I had filed a complaint two months back but the police did not take any action against the accused,” the woman’s father alleged.

In his complaint to the Nadakkavu police station he said his daughter who is a student, had visited a theme park in the city with her friends on July 7 where they met a young man and became friends. He said later the youth took his daughter to an empty building and drugged and sexually assaulted her. He took the video of the assault and started blackmailing and forced her to convert to Islam.

“My daughter was on the verge of committing suicide before she confided everything to my wife and me,” he said.

He claimed he filed a police complaint on August 5 and his daughter’s statement was recorded before a duty magistrate. He said later Nadakkavu police station in Kozhikkode handed over the case to the Medical College Police station saying that the scene crime came under their jurisdiction.

“After I filed the police complaint I was threatened to withdraw it. The police dragged their feet and some officers told me that the case would stoke communal tension.”

When contacted a senior police officer of Kozhikkode said the accused Mohamad Jasim (22) was under custody and investigation was progressing and state police have no problem in handing over the case to the National Investigation Agency.

But the father of the woman accused the police of shielding the accused when his daughter’s statement was enough for arresting Jasmin.

He said he sent a petition to the National Minority Commission and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He said he lost faith in local police and sought a probe by a central agency like the NIA.

Meanwhile the KCBC has also joined the issue and sought a high-level probe into the incident. “It is a serious issue. We seek an independent inquiry so as to ensure justice to the girl,” it said in a statement.

Many believers and activists took out a procession in front of the police commissioner’s office on Monday seeking immediate action. Police did not say when Jasim was detained but the woman father claimed he was taken into custody after the procession on Monday.

National Minority Commission vice chairman George Kurian said in New Delhi that he has written to the Home Minister seeking a probe by the NIA into the incident.

“The spate of organized religious conversions and using the victims for terror activities by trapping them through ‘love jihad’ has shown that the Christian community is a soft target for Islamic radicals,” he wrote in the letter which was released to media later.

The issue of ‘love jihad’ cropped up in Kerala prominently during the case of Hadiya Jehan last year. On March 8, 2018 the Supreme Court had set aside the Kerala High Court order that annulled Akhila alias Hadiya’s(26) marriage with a Muslim man Shefin Jehan and pronounced a detailed verdict on April 9 observing that the right to marry a person of choice was integral to a citizen’s right to life and liberty.

The case grabbed national attention after Akhila, who was studying in a homeopathy medical college in Tamil Nadu, converted to Islam and took a new name Hadiya and married Shefin Jehan, a Muslim hailing from south Kerala’s Kollam district. But her father had approached court claiming that their marriage was stage-managed and she was bound for Syria to join the Islamic state militants. Later the High Court had annulled their marriage but the SC had set aside its verdict criticising it.