On Tuesday, the National Women's Commission met Hadiya, the 25-year-old Muslim convert who is under house arrest at her home in Kottayam district.
The visit was made even as the State Women's Rights Commission has not once visited the woman, whose marriage to a Muslim man Shafin Jahan was annulled by the Kerala High Court earlier this year.
Despite receiving several complaints, on the alleged rights violation faced by Hadiya, the State Commission stayed inactive for months together. In September, when the public pressure demanding the commission's intervention grew louder, the commission, headed by Chairperson MC Josephine, approached Supreme Court seeking permission to meet Hadiya. The commission had cited that they could not visit Hadiya, since the case is subjudice.
After a team of National Women's Commission including its acting chairperson met Hadiya and interacted with her for about an hour, the state commission has come under severe flak, for months of inactivity.
K M Seethi, professor at School of International Relations and Politics at Mahatma Gandhi University, took a jibe at the state commission in his Facebook post.
âOne still wonders what has happened to the "permission" sought by the Chairperson of the State Women's Commission to visit Hadiya ! Perhaps the State Chairperson would be asked to visit her in the 'open court' on 27 November!â he wrote.
Another Facebook post criticized the State Women's Commission for ignoring the Hadiya case for months together.
âIs the State Women's Commission functioning to support patriarchy or women in distress? In whose interests is the Commission swaying when running away from Hadiya case? We need a Women's Commission which will stand by women when they are in anguish," the user questioned.
State Women's Commission reacts to NCW visit
Kerala State Women's Commission Chairperson M C Josephine on Tuesday came down heavily on NCW for visiting Hadiya. Josephine said that the NCW did not inform the state commission about its plans to visit Hadiya.
Josephine said that NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharmaâs statement over âforceful religious conversionsâ in the state was made with âpolitical intentionsâ.
Speaking to media in Kochi, Josephine alleged that Rekha Sharmaâs statement was meant to instigate central governmentâs attempt to downgrade Kerala, as the state has always upheld secular values.
âThere are no forced religious conversions in the state. The NCW Chairperson made the remarks without understanding the real situation here. There are clear political intentions behind the statementâ, she said.
After meeting Hadiya, Rekha Sharma had said: âShe is safe, there is no harassment. She said that she is willing to appear in courtâ.
Rekha further remarked that what happens in Kerala was not love jihad, but forced religious conversions.