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Published On: Mon, Nov 27th, 2017

Top court set Hadiya free from custody of her parents

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2017_11$largeimg27_Monday_2017_202852595NEW DELHI :Her head covered in a red scarf, Hadiya, a 24-year-old Hindu woman from Kerala who converted to Islam, told the Supreme Court on Monday that she wants “freedom and release”. The top court set her free from the custody of her parents and directed that she be allowed to complete her studies at a Salem homeopathy college.
Allowing Hadiya to walk free, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra directed the Salem college to allow her to complete her house surgeon internship.She studies in Salem’s Sivaraj Homoeopathic Medical Colleges and Research Institute

Diminutive Hadiya spoke in Malayalam, which was translated for the bench by a lawyer.She had to wait for about two hours before the bench decided to interact with her.
In arguments that were spread over nearly two hours, the clincher came as senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the court that he was not arguing on Hadiya’s marriage with Shafin Jahan or on her conversion to Islam or anything else but how she could be kept in the custody of her father.
The court order came after the bench, also comprising Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, interacted with her for about 25 minutes during which she expressed her desire to complete her house surgeon internship and pursue her career as a homeopathic doctor.
“Freedom, release”, Hadiya said in response to a question from Justice Chandrachud “What is your dream for the future?”

Hadiya, who was known as Akhila Asokan before she converted to Islam last year, was released from her parents’ custody in Kerala by the Supreme Court today. The court did not comment on her marriage but her lawyer says she can now meet her husband, Shafin Jahan, at the hostel where she will live till she completes her college course in homeopathy.
The judges say they will take up in January her marriage, which is being investigated by the NIA or National Investigation Agency after her father alleged that Hadiya is one of many vulnerable young Hindu women being recruited by terror groups like ISIS through “love jihad” or marriage.
The judges had called Hadiya to testify if she married Shafin Jahan in December last and converted of her own free will. They pointed out that since she is an adult, her consent is “prime”.

Before taking a flight to Delhi, Hadiya shouted to reporters at the Kochi airport: “I have not been forcefully converted… I have not been forcefully married to Shafin Jahan. I married him of my own will and I want to live with my husband.”
Her father KM Asokan says she “does not have an independent mind”, is brainwashed and heavily indoctrinated, which indicates that her testimony cannot be relied upon. The family insists that Hadiya was converted so she could be recruited for terror and taken to Syria.
The NIA told the court that the website through which Hadiya and Shafin Jahan married “is a sham” and forced conversion and terror recruitment was the true motive.Hadiya was in college when she met Shafin Jahan, 26, who had just returned from Oman, through an Islamist matrimonial website. The National Investigation Agency alleges that the website has links to a terror group.

In May, the Kerala High Court cancelled the marriage and ordered Hadiya to return to her family. Since then, she had been living at her father’s home in Kottayam where she hardly had any contact with anyone without her father’s approval.Shafin Jahan challenged the annulment in the Supreme Court. He said Hadi. (With Agency Inputs ).


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