Mumtaz Alam | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — In a major setback to the promoters of ‘love jihad’ propaganda, Kerala Muslim woman Hadiya was on Monday set free by the Supreme Court of India from what she herself described as “unlawful custody” of her Hindu parents.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra directed that she be sent “at the earliest” to Sivaraj Homeo Medical College in Salem district of Tamil Nadu to complete her studies. The top court also asked the College to provide hostel facility to her where, according to her Muslim husband’s counsel Indira Jaising, “she will be treated like any other student, she can decide who to meet, she is free to meet her husband.”
Hadiya, 25, while appearing before the SC here on Monday, boldly and clearly stated: “I want freedom. I have been in unlawful custody for 11 months and have suffered mental harassment. I want to go back to my husband and be true to my faith.”
She was produced in the court by her parents in whose custody she has been kept against her will since her marriage with Shafin Jahan was annulled by the Kerala High Court in May 2017. She had married him in December 2016, about three years after she converted to Islam while studying in Salem.
Leading Women Activists Hail the SC Ruling
Talking to Caravan Daily, eminent women activists – Kavita Krishnan, Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), and Kavita Srivastava, Rajasthan president of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) – have lauded Hadiya for sticking to her stand and the top court for lending her an ear. They trashed the talk of ‘love jihad’ in Hadiya’s case as mere Hindutva propaganda coined to reinforce the communal notions of Muslims as terrorists.
Hadiya statement before SC punctures ‘Love Jihad’ balloon
Kavita Krishnan: From day one, Hadiya had been very clear about the fact that her conversion and marriage were both consensual. She was kept in custody precisely to try to suppress her own voice and intent and pressurize her to give up. Her courage in sticking to her stand must be lauded, it is a blow to the patriarchal and communal ‘love jihad’ discourse that the Kerala HC had unfortunately endorsed and perpetuated.
Kavita Srivastava: The ‘love jihad’ balloon is a campaign of the Hindutva forces, to prevent choice relationship and marriages. The SC in its wisdom of calling Hadiya and giving her a platform to speak her mind has already punctured the deep-seated designs of maligning Muslim boys and Hindu girls.
By hearing Hadiya, has the SC acknowledged the right of an adult to choose religion and life partner?
Kavita Krishnan: I welcome the fact that the SC has, even belatedly, put Hadiya’s own views on record and allowed her voice to be heard. It is time now for the SC to immediately release Hadiya from parental custody, recognise her marriage as valid…
Kavita Srivastava: If the SC of India had not asked her about her views then it would have failed her and all of us and the Indian Constitution since it is only her will and that of the boy matter in any marriage….
‘Love Jihad’ mere propaganda
Kavita Krishnan: The ‘love jihad’ propaganda seeks to reinforce the communal notions of Muslims as terrorists and as violators of Hindu womanhood. It is a vicious and poisonous political propaganda that remains alive in spite of the fact that all its so called victims – from Shalu in Meerut to Hadiya in Kerala – have strongly destroyed the myth at great personal risk.
Kavita Srivastava: This is just Hindutva propaganda.