A 25-year-old Hindu woman from Kerala has moved the Kerala High Court against a Muslim man, who allegedly forcefully converted her to Islam and forged documents to marry her.
The woman, in her petition to the HC, has alleged that 26-year-old Muhammad Riyaz- a native of New Mahe- took her to Saudi Arabia and was planning to take her to Syria, and sell her to ISIS terrorists as a sex slave.
The petition comes at a time when there is heated debate over whether there are forced conversions in Kerala. While the National Women’s Commission has said there is, the state counterpart has disagreed.
Though the husband’s version is not known, the woman has leveled serious allegations of forced conversion and rape.
The woman, originally a native of Pathanamthitta in Kerala, resides in Gujarat along with her family. In the first week of October, she escaped from the custody of Muhammad in Saudi Arabia and flew back to India, her petition states.
Her forceful conversion and subsequent fraudulent marriage to Muhammad, were done with the help of Popular Front of India (PFI) members in Kannur, the petition says.
The woman has now moved the HC, asking for an National Investigative Agency (NIA) investigation in the case and asking the court to nullify her marriage to Muhammad that was registered using forged documents, according to her.
Speaking to TNM, the woman's lawyer V Sethunath said that the petition was filed at the HC on Wednesday.
The woman was studying in a college in Bengaluru from 2014 onwards, where she happened to meet Muhammad. In November 2015, he coerced her into having sexual intercourse with him, thereby leading to sexual exploitation, reads the petition.
Muhammed allegedly recorded the sexual act and threatened the woman into having a sexual relationship with him.
According to the petition, Muhammad then forcefully admitted the woman to a madrassa, following which, he forged documents including her Aadhar card (with the new Muslim name) to get their marriage registered in May 2016.
Muhammad and his family "got a wealthy gift of money and gold ornaments from some unidentifiable sources for converting a non Muslim to a Muslim”, alleges the petition.
Advocate Sethunath told TNM that the woman managed to escape from the family in December. However, Muhammad moved the Kerala HC with a habeas corpus petition.
"The man even threatened her at the court corridor that day, showing the pictures on his phone," Advocate Sethunath alleged.
The advocate alleges that the woman told the court she was ready to go with Muhammed only because of his threats. Once the court allowed her to do so, she was illegally locked up in a house in Paravoor, the lawyer said.
In the month of August, Muhammad and his family flew to Saudi, taking the woman along with them. She was taken on a visiting visa, the lawyer points out.
Going by the woman's petition, Muhammad forced her to watch videos of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, who is being closely monitored by NIA for his alleged terror links.
"He was considering the petitioner as sex slave. He has other plans to go to Syria, and informed to the petitioner that within a few days they will shift to Syria and his plan was to sell the petitioner to the ISIS terrorists," reads the petition.
In the first week of October, the woman managed to get a mobile phone, with which she contacted her family in Gujarat. Through a friend of her father's in Saudi Arabia, the woman was rescued from the rented flat and she flew back to India.