NIA probing 90 inter-faith marriages in Kerala to see if there was ‘love jihad’
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing 90 cases of inter-faith marriages in Kerala to see if there was any element of coercion or entrapment.
The list of these marriages, which took place since 2015, was provided to the NIA by the Kerala police. The cases involve marriages of men and women of three faiths — Hindu, Christian and Islam.
The Supreme Court had earlier asked the agency to probe ‘love jihad’ in Kerala following a petition by a Kerala-based Muslim man whose marriage with a Hindu woman last December was annulled by the Kerala high court.
The case hit the headlines after Akhila Ashokan, 24, a homeopathy doctor, converted to Islam, took the name of Hadiya and married Muslim youth Shefin Jahan from Kollam in south Kerala.
Her father approached the high court in May, alleging in his petition that there was a “well-oiled systematic mechanism” for conversion and Islamic radicalisation.
Later, the high court annulled the marriage, calling it a case of ‘love jihad’, and sent Hadiya back to her father’s custody.
NIA officials said in at least two cases, women said they were lured into inter-faith marriages.
“Both the women are named Athira. One of them, Athira Nambiar, gave a statement before the magistrate too. We reported her case to the Supreme Court. The second woman has given a statement to the NIA claiming she was lured into marriage,” said an agency official.
In its initial report to the SC, NIA had said the same set of accused were involved in the Hadiya and Nambiar cases, which showed that the homeopathy doctor’s was not an isolated incident. The agency said in the Nambiar case, it was alleged that Sainaba, president of women’s wing of Popular Front of India, hatched a conspiracy along with 11 people to trap Nambiar.