In the end, love conquers all, says Rajasthan’s ‘Hadiya’

Like the Kerala woman, Jodhpur’s Payal Singhvi had embraced Islam to marry her childhood lover, and had to face a court case

jaipur Updated: Mar 08, 2018 22:17 IST
Rakesh Goswami
Rakesh Goswami
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Aarifa,Rajasthan's Hadiya,Hadiya case
Payal Singhvi who converted to Islam and took the name Aarifa. (HT File)

A Rajasthan woman who converted to Islam to marry a Muslim man, hailed the Supreme Court judgment on Thursday that overturned a Kerala high court order annulling the marriage of Hadiya, formerly a Hindu, with her childhood lover Shafin Jahan.

The case of 23-year-old Aarifa Modi is quite similar to that of the Kerala woman, a reason why the Jodhpur woman she soon came to be known as ‘Hadiya of Rajasthan.’

Hadiya, born a Hindu and named Akhila Asokan, embraced Islam in January 2016 and married Jahan in Decemeber the same year. Hadiya’s father moved a habeas corpus petition in Kerala high court alleging that she was forcibly converted by groups with links to terrorist outfits. The HC annulled the marriage. Jahan moved the Supreme Court in August 2017 to challenging the HC order.

In a near re-run of the case, Payal Singhvi, a Hindu, converted to Islam and took the name of Aarifa in April 2017 to secretly marry her school-time lover, Faiez Modi (24). In October, she left her home and started living with her husband.

However, her brother, Chirag Singhvi, filed a habeas corpus petition in Rajasthan high court stating that she had been brainwashed and was a victim of “love jihad”, a controversial term coined by fringe outfits to describe cases of what they believe are forced marriages between Muslim men and Hindu women.

On November 1, the Rajasthan high court asked Jodhpur police to lodge a case of kidnapping against Faiez and sent his wife to a government home for women for a week. However, a week later, the court set her free, as the love jihad charge fell apart. The court said the woman was a major and was not in illegal detention of any person.

Aarifa, now living with her husband, said she’s happy the apex court pronounced the landmark decision that upholds a woman’s right to choose her partner.

“In the end, love conquers all,” said the woman, who fell in love with Faiez when they were in Class 7 at Sardar Children’s Senior Secondary School in Jodhpur’s Jalori Gate area near Behru Bagh Mandir. The two had secretly married according to Islamic rituals when Payal’s parents were trying to fix her marriage with a Bangalore man who was 10 years older.

Even after wedding, the two continued to live in their respective houses.

When the high court sent Aarifa to government home, the two were away for a week for the first time in 10 years. “I fasted to pray to Allah for the issue to settle down. When she came back to me, she told me that she had also not eaten anything in the government home,” remembers Faiez.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 22:17 IST