New Delhi : Hadiya, a woman whose decision to convert from Hinduism to be able to marry her Muslim lover kicked up a debate over individual liberties, parental authority and so-called “love jihad”, will meet Supreme Court judges at 3pm on Monday.
Hadiya, born Akhila Ashokan, married Shafin Jahan without her family consent last December. Her father, retired military man Ashokan KM, approached the high court in May, alleging in his petition that there was a “well-oiled systematic mechanism” for conversion and Islamic radicalisation that had trapped his daughter. The HC struck down Hadiya and Shafin’s marriage, calling it a “sham”, but the husband moved the Supreme Court, which in its last hearing on October 30 said Hadiya’s consent as an adult is “prime”.
At the heart of the matter is whether Hadiya’s parents have the power to override her decision. The Union government has said parental authority can be invoked in cases where someone is manipulated or indoctrinated.The SC said that before examining the love jihad issue, it would like to ascertain if Hadiya had voluntarily converted to Islam. On Saturday, as Hadiya left Kerala to appear before the apex court in New Delhi, she said out loudly to mediapersons that she wanted to stay with her husband.But Hadiya’s parents are certain that she has been indoctrinated. The SC has asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to investigate the Hadiya’s conversion, an order that her husband wants recalled.The NIA, in an earlier report, has pointed to a “pattern” involving conversion to Islam and marriages in Kerala. On November 18, an NIA team arrived at her home for the second time and took statements from her and her parents to present their case before the court.