In the last couple of years, many parents of Hindu women married to Muslim men in Kerala, and right-wing organisations have raised the ‘love jihad’ bogey.

No cases of love jihad in Kerala in fact no such term in law Govt to ParliamentHadiya
news Controversy Tuesday, February 04, 2020 - 13:14

In probably an attempt to clear the air on the ‘love jihad’ bogey being propagated by several right-wing groups and others, Kerala MP Behanan Benny posed a question to the Central government during the Parliamentary session in the Lok Sabha on Monday. “Whether the government is aware of the observation of Kerala High Court that there is no case of love jihad in Kerala? If yes, whether any of the central agencies have reported any case of Love Jihad from Kerala during the last two years, and if so, the details thereof?”

Responding to the question, Minister of State for Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy, acknowledged that “no such case of ‘Love Jihad’ has been reported by any of the central agencies”. In fact, he pointed out that the term ‘love jihad’ is not defined under the current laws. 

“Article 25 of the Constitution provides for the freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health. Various courts have upheld this view, including the Kerala High Court,” he said.

However, the Minister added that two cases from Kerala involving inter-faith marriages, which have been investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

In the last couple of years, many parents of Hindu women married to Muslim men in Kerala, and right-wing organisations have raised the ‘love jihad’ bogey. In fact, it was only recently that the Syro Malabar Catholic Church remarked that ‘love jihad’ was real and was being used to target Christian women. Two cases, in particular, became national headlines and one even reached the Supreme Court.

The first such high profile case was that of Hadiya. However, the controversies surrounding the homeopathic medical student (who is now a doctor) started much before her marriage. In January 2016, her father Asokan objected to her studying Islam and approached the Kerala High Court, When the HC disposed off his petition, Asokan filed another habeus corpus a few months later claiming that there were attemots to make Hadiya join Islamic State. As this hearing was going on, in December 2016, Hadiya got married to a Muslim man Shafin Jahan. The court annulled the wedding, started an inquiry into the wedding and Hadiya, an adult, was under house arrest. She was not allowed to use the telephone, read newspapers or meet people.

The case then went to the Supreme Court and the apex court ordered an NIA probe. Hadiya however appeared in court and made it clear that she wished to live with Shafin and practice Islam. Finally in March 2018, the 26-year-old woman was allowed to live with Shafin and a Kerala High Court order annulling their marriage was set aside.

The other case was related to a man named Muhammed Riyaz who married a Hindu woman in May 2016. The woman had converted to Islam despite strong objection from her family. The couple lived in Bengaluru and Kochi and had moved to Saudi Arabia in November 2017. While they were living in India, the woman's parents had once asked her to come back home on the pretext that the mother was unwell and then confined her to the house.

Acting upon a habeas corpus filed by the husband, the Kerala High Court ordered for the wife and husband to be reunited. While the couple spent a few peaceful months in Saudi Arabia in October 2017, she was again called back home by her parents saying that her father was unwell. In November, a complaint was filed in the Kerala High court, purportedly by the wife, alleging that her husband had tried to sell her as a sex worker to the Islamic State.

The Kerala police filed an FIR in December 2017 and two months later the case was taken over by the NIA. Riyaz was arrested and he had to spend 76 days in jail but after this incarceration, the NIA dropped all charges against him.


From Akhila to Hadiya: The timeline of her conversion, wedding and house arrest

‘Lost two precious years of my life’: Hadiya demands compensation from Kerala govt

Kerala Catholic Church taking right-wing stand on ‘Love Jihad’ and CAA: Reformists

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