Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency NIA has a new job. The investigation agency meant to probe terror offences has been entrusted by none other than the Supreme Court with probing inter-caste marriages between Hindu women and Muslim men for cases of ‘Love Jihad. ‘Love jihad’ is a term coined by Hindu right wing groups and is allegedly supposed to be a strategy of Muslim extremist groups radicalizing Hindu women by luring them to marry them and then recruiting them for terror activities.
The Supreme Court has supported the Kerala high court in its decision in May this year to annul the marriage of 24 year old Hindu girl Akhila Ashokan, now ‘Hadiya’ who married a Muslim boy Shafin Jahan, citing that the marriage was a case of ‘Love Jihad’.
The family of 24-year-old Hadiya alleged that her husband Shafin Jahan, lured her into marriage and caused her to change her faith because he wanted to recruit her for terror group ISIS. Hadiya married Shafin Jahan in December 2016 after being introduced through a Muslim matrimonial website in August the same year. Two days after their wedding, Hadiya’s father, K M Ashokan, an ex-serviceman petitioned the Court with a ‘Habeus Corpus’, alleging the marriage to be illegal. Habeus Corpus is basically a writ which requires the person, in concern, to be brought before the Court or the judge, especially pertaining to the investigation of a restraint of the person’s liberty. Hadiya was thus asked to appear before the court in this regard on the pretext that she was being illegally detained by Shafin Jahan.
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The police have not found much, as of now on Shafin Jahan except that he is on the Facebook page of the radical outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) which according to the NIA was involved in a methodical conspiracy to lure a woman and convert her to Islam, back in 2016. He also happens to be on a Whatsapp group called ‘SPDI Keralam’ and ‘Thanal’ also supposedly radical Islamist groups.
The Kerala High Court has annulled the marriage stating it to be a sham, equating it with terrorism though evidence towards the same remains yet to be gathered and also without giving credence to her testimony. The Court has in the meanwhile granted Hadiya’s custody to the father and has also provided them police protection. In a letter released to the media in May this year Hadiya had said “I am a 25-year-old Indian citizen. Why the court put me under house arrest for the last five months? Why the court denied me the right to live as per my faith and likes?”
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All said and done, the Supreme Court’s observation that “purpose of issuing notice to NIA was for neutral and unbiased assistance” rings true. Additionally, it is imperative that the real truth needs to be brought to light in order to comment on Hadiya’s fate. We must wait and watch to find out who wins and who lose but whatsoever be the case, ‘Love Jihad’ is again in news and this time around, it’s Supreme Court who is observing the matter. One may hope for the truth to come out and put the culprits behind the bars.