"I was subjected to regular counseling, I don't know who they were, and nobody told me their names. They were people from Siva Sakthi Yoga Centre and they regularly counselled me. They tortured me to the maximum, compelled me to hold a press meet and declare that I have returned to Sanathana Dharma."
This is what 25-year-old Hadiya said as she addressed media after getting back to the Sivaraj Homeopathic Medical College in Salem. The young woman who asked Supreme Court for freedom will resume 11-month house internship to complete her housesurgency.
Hadiya had been under the custody of her parents since May this year after her marriage to a Muslim man Shafin Jahan was annulled by the Kerala High Court.
It was when Hadiya was asked whether there had been efforts to re-convert her to Hinduism, that she made this startling revelation about the controversial yoga centre.
Hadiya admitted there had been persistent efforts to re-convert her to Hinduism.
The Siva Sakthi Yoga Centre in Udayamperoor in Tripunithura – started in 2009 by KR Manoj, the Founder and Director of Arsha Vidya Samajam- was recently shut down after more than three women came out with shocking testimonies of torture. The centre acts as a reconversion centre, and had many inmates, particularly young women, brought in by their families.
When TNM reached out to Hadiya's father Ashokan, he said that he could not remember if members of Siva Sakthi Yoga Centre were among those who counselled his daughter.
"There were so many people, I don't remember if they were one among the counsellers. I will have to think about it," Ashokan said. However, he did not deny the centre's involvement.
Ashokan however adds that Hadiya’s allegations should not be taken at face value.
However, advocate Rajendran who represented Ashokan at the Kerala HC, told TNM that Siva Sakthi Yoga Centre counsellers had met Hadiya.
"Two women members from the centre had visited Hadiya at Ashokan’s insistence. That centre counsels girls who left Hinduism and tells them the true nature of Islam and brings them back. They have been successful in doing so. That's why Ashokan approached them. They did meet Hadiya and speak to her, but Hadiya did not respond and they had to leave," Rajendran said.
He denied Hadiya's allegation that she was tortured by the centre.
"How is that possible? There were police personnel at the house, how can they torture her in their presence? That's false. These radical Muslim organisations have brainwashed Hadiya and made her say such things. She is a stooge in their hands," the lawyer said.
Ashokan and Rajendran insisted that Hadiya was not making these allegations in a right frame of mind, their stand in court too was that Hadiya was mentally unfit.
However, despite these claims, a calm and self-assured Hadiya made her stand clear before judges of the Supreme Court on Monday.
Yoga Centre denies
KR Manoj, the director of the centre, denied they had anything to do with Hadiya.
"Hadiya had police protection in and around her house 24/7. How can we possibly threaten her to join yoga centre? These are stories that reporters cook up based on what Rahul Easwar is saying."
Other women who have come forward
20-year-old Ashita, a nursing graduate from Kannur had spoken exclusively to TNM recently about her 7 month incarceration at the yoga centre.
The yoga centre first came into news in September, when Swetha Haridasan, a woman detained at the centre for 22 days filed a complaint after getting out.
Caught off guard, the government responded by sealing the centre, while those in charge of it, including Manoj, fled.
Another woman Shruthi Meledath, also told the court she was confined at the yoga centre. And some days later, a former instructor at the centre added in his testimony, filing a petition to implead himself into the case against the centre.