The life of a 25-year-old woman from Kerala has grabbed national and international headlines in the last couple of months. But Hadiya, a neo-convert who was born Akhila, has neither stepped out of her home in Kottayam district, nor has she been allowed to meet anyone.
Human rights violation faced by Hadiya and a cross section of other issues including the right to practice a religion of one's choice, is what makes the core of the documentary film I Am Hadiya.
Directed by documentary filmmaker Gopal Menon, the film is produced by National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO). I am Hadiya talks about the challenging times in which a 25-year-old woman is denied her fundamental rights.
In an interview to TNM, Gopal Menon alleges that Hadiya is being sedated at her own home.
"I have information that gross violations are being committed, that Hadiya is being sedated by her parents on a daily basis. There are only two possibilities here. Either her condition is weak from the harassment from her father, or they are deliberately doing this so that she would not be in a clear state of mind when she goes before the Supreme Court," Gopal said.
The Kerala HC annulled her marriage to a Muslim man Shafin Jahan in May and granting her custody to her parents Ashokan and Ponnamma. In all these months, no one has not been able to interact with Hadiya.
Gopal Menon demanded that the Kerala government should appoint a medical team to check on Hadiya's health condition and if need be, even shift her to a hospital for medical care.
"Her health is deteriorating. Why is the court allowing this grave violation? When the parents were granted custody, the court had warned them not to harass her. Why is the court or the police or even the state government not interfering when it is clear as day light that her rights are being violated?" Gopal said.
He said that he was in possession of an audio clip, in which Hadiya's mother can be heard telling her that Ashokan, along with people from the BJP, will cause harm to Aboobacker, the father of Hadiya's two Muslim friends.
On Thursday, activist Rahul Easwar had released a video clip in which Hadiya can be heard saying:
A tale of rights violation
The documentary is set to release on October 30. Through the course of the film, the filmmaker has spoken to a variety of people including film critic and women's rights activist J Devika and writer and poet K Satchidanandan.
"This is a case of judicial ghar wapsi," Gopal said, explaining that Hadiya's marriage to Shafin was no sham.
"For one, the court has no right to annul a marriage on a habeas corpus petition. Moreover, the court has not even heard Hadiya's side properly. This is the violation of all norms. The whole of Kerala is demanding that Hadiya be heard," Gopal said.
The documentary will be released at KP Keshava Menon hall, Kozhikode, at 3.30pm on October.