Love jihad case: NIA seeks separate order to probe Kerala wedding

Elias Hubbard
August 12, 2017

In the case of Hadiya - the girl who converted to Islam and got married to a Muslim man only to have the marriage annulled by the Kerala High Court - the NIA did not conduct an initial probe.But an NIA officer said following a Kerala High Court directive, they had filed a preliminary probe report on the conversion of Athira Nambiar.

It said that the records will help the NIA assess the matter independently and assist the apex court hearing Shefin Jahan's petition against the annulment of his marriage.

A bench comprising chief justice J.S. Khehar and justice D.Y. Chandrachud took a serious note of the objection raised by the counsel for Kerala-native Shafin Jahan that the NIA should not be allowed to peruse the investigation records of the police in the case. He requested the court to wait till August 16, hear both sides and then decide whether it would be necessary to involve the NIA. "We asked them to assist us", the bench told the man's counsel. "Why should we suspect?" Let the whole picture come before us. Why should anybody be doubting the NIA? Why should anybody doubt the NIA? "You see it as a some kind of external agency?" We have not asked it to investigate.

"We want the whole picture".

The court said that it felt that "the petitioner (Jahan) does not desire the correct and independent view of the controversy" be brought before it. It added that the "purpose of issuing notice to NIA on the first day itself was for neutral and unbiased assistance".

"It's pertinent to know if the issue goes beyond the local area and whether it's a national security issue or not".

The high court had first rejected the claim of Akhila's father, K M Ashokan, that she had been forcibly converted saying she was an adult.

The Kerala High Court on May 25 had declared as "null and void" the marriage of a 24-year-old Hindu woman, who converted to Islam to Wednesday a Muslim man in December 2016, terming it a "sham" and ordered Hadiya, as she is now known, be placed in her parents' protective custody.

Love jihad is a term used by right-wing Hindu groups to describe inter-faith marriages which they say is an Islamist conspiracy to convert Hindu women through marriage or coercion.

The NIA has recently conducted probe into some cases of "love jihad" in which women were allegedly being sent to Syria to join ISIS.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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