For the first time in almost six months, 25-year-old Hadiya will walk out of her home in Kottayam district in November. She is set to appear before the Supreme Court, which is hearing the case on whether the Muslim convert should be allowed to be with Shafin Jahan, the man she married in December.
On Monday, while hearing a petition filed by Shafin against the Kerala High Court’s annulment of his wedding to Hadiya, the SC directed that Hadiya be produced in court as it is obligated to hear her side of the story.
The direction to produce Hadiya in open court comes as a victory for several rights activists, who have been alleging that the 25-year-old is being confined against her will in her parents’ home and is being harassed, and have been demanding that she be set at liberty.
However, even as he welcomed the court’s decision, Shafin told TNM that November 27 is too distant a date, and that he fears for her safety till then.
"Although this direction comes quite late, I am happy that the court has taken the decision. But then there's almost a month for the next hearing, which is a cause of concern," Shafin said.
The Supreme Court’s direction comes just four days after activist Rahul Easwar released a video in which Hadiya said that she fears for her life and pleaded for help.
"You need to get me out. I will be killed anytime, tomorrow or the day after, I am sure. I know my father is getting angry. When I walk, he is hitting and kicking me. If my head or any other part of my body hits somewhere and I die..." Hadiya said in the short video.
Previously, documentary filmmaker Gopal Menon had said in an interview to TNM that Hadiya was 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.
While the latest video has added credence to the allegations Shafin and other activists have been making for some weeks, Shafin said that he was more worried after the video emerged than ever before.
"She is clearly being subjected to physical and mental harassment. How will she live in that house for a month before the hearing? The Women's Commission and the police must ensure her protection and shift her out of her house to a safe place as soon as possible," Shafin said.
Hadiya's father Ashokan, on the other hand, told mediapersons that he will wait for law to take its due course.
Speaking to Asianet News briefly, Ashokan said, "I am a jawan, who accepts the Constitution. And so, I welcome this order. Let the court hear all the sides and say what needs to be done."