Hadiya case: NIA breaks new ground by questioning couple over WhatsApp

Shirin Shahana and Fasal Musthafa, now in Yemen, were unable to depose in person in a case of brainwashing of Hadiya for conversion.

Updated - February 03, 2019 11:02 pm IST

Published - February 03, 2019 10:58 pm IST - New Delhi

Hadiya. File

Hadiya. File

In a first, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) questioned an Indian couple currently in Yemen through the messaging platform WhatsApp.

Shirin Shahana and Fasal Musthafa, who allegedly persuaded Hadiya (Akhila Asokan), a homeopathy student from Kerala, to convert to Islam, were recently sent questions by the agency.

A senior NIA official said the agency recorded the replies as part of their investigation files.

“Since they are not in India, it was impossible to question them. We sent the questions to them on WhatsApp where they replied. It will be treated as evidence under law,” the official said.

In 2016, Ms. Hadiya’s father had moved the Kerala High Court alleging that she was radicalised and forcibly married to a Muslim man.

The High Court annulled the marriage and her husband Shafin Jahan moved the Supreme Court, which asked the NIA to investigate the case.

The apex court restored Ms. Hadiya’s marriage to Mr. Jahan on March 8 last year, but allowed the NIA to continue its investigation into any criminality involved. It asked the agency to steer clear of Ms. Hadiya’s choice to marry Mr. Jahan. The NIA said it had not closed the investigations in the case and it would continue the work.


In a status report to the Supreme Court last year, it said the agency had evidence that Ms. Hadiya was brainwashed by the couple who met her at Sathya Sarani, a religious institution affiliated to the Popular Front of India (PFI) in Malappuram district of Kerala.

During their investigations, the NIA found that the couple were now based in Yemen where they were pursuing some religious studies. The official said they were unlikely to return to India and their questioning was critical for the ongoing probe.

The NIA had also told the Supreme Court that Ms. Hadiya was “brainwashed in difficult academic conditions to embrace Islam” by the couple.

Earlier, courts have issued summons through WhatsApp. In 2017, the Bombay High Court for the first time allowed serving of summons through the messaging platform to the defendants in a copyright infringement case as they were evasive.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.