Leading academics and activist groups have written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson M.C. Josephine expressing ‘outrage and concern regarding the dangerous implications’ of Hadiya’s continued isolation and imprisonment in her parental home.
In a joint memorandum, they welcomed the step taken by the Women’s Commission to file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court seeking directions from the Bench for a meeting with Hadiya as part of its duty as an institution mandated to ensure that women are not subjected to unfair practices and denial of their civil rights. They also welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to examine the High Court order vis-a-vis use of Article 226 to declare Hadiya’s marriage as invalid and to relook at the issue of ‘protection’ for Hadiya outside of her family. These are a recognition of the serious nature of violations that have impacted her liberty and freedom as an individual, they pointed out.
“As you well know, the issue is not about what her family, religious extremist organisations — whether Hindu or Muslim, or even we in the women’s movement, think of her choice of partner. The fact is that she is an adult and that she has the autonomy and the fundamental right to make choices regarding her work, her religion and her partner,” they said, and demanded that the State Women’s Commission should immediately visit Hadiya to assess the nature of human rights violations that she faced, issue a public report on her condition and bring Hadiya under the protection of the State, perhaps in a shelter in consultation with her. The Commission and the government should also immediately ensure that friends and well wishers are allowed to meet Hadiya and that she is allowed access to a phone and communication beyond the walls of her parental home, they said.