The Hush Post: In the famous Hadiya case relating to alleged ‘love jihad’ in Kerala, the Supreme Court on Monday recorded the consent given by Hadiya, alias Akhila, to return to her college at Salem in Tamil Nadu. The apex court also directed the college to allot her a hostel room where she can stay and complete her 11-month internship to become a homeopath. Hadiya today appeared before the Supreme Court, which asked the Kerala police to provide her with security and ensure that she travelled to Salem, Tamil Nadu, for her studies at the earliest.
A Supreme Court Bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud, had earlier asked senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing her father, to ensure that the girl Hadiya be produced before them to ascertain if she had married of her own free will.
Before leaving for Delhi on November 25, Hadiya had told the mediapersons in Kochi that she wanted to be with her husband. “I am a Muslim. I was not forced. I want to be with my husband,” she shouted to reporters before she was whisked away by the police. 25-year-old Hadiya had converted to Islam from Hinduism and married a Muslim man, Shafin Jahan. The marriage was annulled by the Kerala High Court in May calling it a case of ‘love jihad’. The Supreme Court is hearing a plea by Shafin Jahan challenging the high court order of nullifying his marriage to Hadiya.
Today in the Supreme Court, while the judges asked her questions in English, she replied in Malayalam, which senior advocate V. Giri translated for the Bench. The apex court took her out of the custody of her father, Asokan KM, and ordered the Kerala Police to escort her back to college. The court posted the case for hearing in the third week of January 2018. It kept open issues like NIA investigation and her alleged marriage.
Earlier she was escorted into the courtroom by a posse, with her parents alongside, moments before the judges had assembled. Shafin Jahan was spotted in the visitors’ gallery.
In the three-hour long hearing senior advocate Shyam Divan appearing for Hadiya’s father produced transcripts of alleged online interactions between Jahan and an ISIS recruiter abroad where money was discussed in dollars for recruitments. Seeking an in-camera hearing, he said Jahan was a “stooge, a pawn” for the radical Popular Front of India in Kerala.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), alleged that the narrative that she and Shafin Jahan met through a website was “totally false.” The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had apprehensions that the woman may have been indoctrinated and was incapable of giving her consent to marriage. Hadiya’s case is among the 11 cases the NIA is currently probing on radicalisation in Kerala.
Kerala, represented by senior advocate V. Giri, suggested that the court should look into the NIA material first. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, counsel for Shafin Jahan, said the case before the court was not about radicalisation in Kerala or Popular Front of India or Hadiya’s conversion or marriage, but the autonomy of an adult to decide her own life with dignity.