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We are relieved, says father of girl at the centre of ‘love jihad’ controversy

The Supreme Court has ordered a NIA probe into the alleged forced conversion and marriage of a Hindu woman in Kerala.

india Updated: Aug 17, 2017 18:18 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala,Love Jihad,NIA
File photo of 24-year-old Hadiya with Shefin Jehan, a Gulf returnee.(HT Photo)

A Supreme Court-ordered federal probe into the alleged forced conversion and marriage of a Hindu woman in Kerala has delighted her father, who has been fighting his son-in-law in the courts since December.

The top court’s Wednesday decision asking for a National Investigation Agency probe into the case has come as a much-needed breather to K M Ashokan, whose daughter Akhila alias Hadiya is at the centre of a nationwide controversy.

“We are really relieved. We believe everything will be clear after the probe. The court-monitored probe will be effective and nobody can intervene or browbeat it,” Ashokan, an ex-serviceman, said. He said he hailed from a lower-middle class family and that she was converted while studying medicine in Coimbatore.

While deposing before the Kerala high court in May, he said the forces that played a key role in the alleged indoctrination and conversion of his daughter were planning to send her to the war-torn Syria as a human bomb for the terror group Islamic State. The parents of some of the missing persons, who are suspected to have joined the IS, had also lauded the SC decision and said they would come forward to help the father.

The decision has put spotlight back on the controversial “love jihad,” a term coined by some fringe Hindu outfits to describe cases of what they believe are forced marriages between Muslim men and Hindu women.

Though the presence of the “love jihad” is still disputed, Kerala police had warned about a well-organised syndicate that funded and supported the conversion of young women to the Muslim community many years ago.

In 2009, then state police chief Jacob Punoose submitted a report to the Kerala high court that said there were enough reasons to suspect attempts to persuade non-Muslim girls to convert to Islam after they fell in love with Muslim boys. However he did not use the word “love jihad” to buttress his point.

Similarly T P Senkumar, a former director general of police, had indicated the presence of “love jihad” in an interview to a weekly recently. When the issue raked up a controversy, the government had slapped a case against him for disturbing communal harmony.

“Fearing communal trouble all kept quiet on the sensitive issue. But luring of young girls to Muslim-fold was going on unhindered. We are happy the highest court of the country has taken it up now,” a senior police officer, said adding that in many cases the pattern was same and forces worked behind were similar.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 17:54 IST