Bindu, a beautician who runs a parlor in Thiruvananthapuram, spent weeks under pressure when she was unable to contact her pregnant daughter from June this year. Her daughter had converted to Islam and married a man named Bexen from Palakkad (also a convert) in October 2015.
She feared that Nimisha (now Fathima) must have been one of those suspected to have left Kerala to join the Islamic State.
While Bindu described Nimisha’s decision in October 2015 to convert to Islam as a “sudden transformation”, investigators believe the story is not a straightforward one.
The Kerala police are looking into the involvement of another man, who was in a relationship with Nimisha when she was preparing for her BDS exams in 2013. Since Nimisha was introduced to her husband Bexen only days before their wedding, police are investigating whether the man, a Muslim, had inspired her to convert. His links with others who left India is also being looked into.
Her classmates at the Century Dental College in Poinachi in Kasaragod district also confirmed that Nimisha’s inclination to Islam was not a sudden development.
Nimisha’s classmate Ann (name changed) said that Nimisha had begun to do namaz as early as 2014. “Her roommates and some other classmates have seen praying many times. Many of us have even asked her about it, but we were met with her arguments disregarding other religions. She once told us that Islam was the only true religion,” she said.
She remembers Nimisha as a mature girl, who would not be carried away by people’s words easily. “She was older to us and that reflected in her behaviour too. When we spoke to her about the manner in which she was beginning to embrace Islam, she would argue Islam to be the only true religion. Gradually, we avoided speaking to her about it,” Ann admits.
Ann confirmed that Nimisha used to watch Islamic religious videos, but did not consider it to be abnormal as she was in a relationship with a Muslim man at the time.
“We knew then that he was from her native Thiruvananthapuram and the relationship had ended in March last year. We don’t know anything about the man she later got married to,” Ann said.
Though Nimisha got defensive when her friends questioned her, she never persuaded them to convert.
Nimisha’s mother however insists that a Seva group in the college that was providing palliative care was instrumental in influencing her to convert.
However, authorities at the college give a different picture.
Vice-Principal Dr.Kiran Kumar told The News Minute that the student-driven group was purely a palliative care group that visited the homes of cancer patients and endosulfan victims as part of their activities.
The group was, however, dissolved in September last year owing to financial crunch.