NIA focus on 32 Kerala ‘conversions’

Probe into cases of Hindu women allegedly ‘lured’ to convert, marry Muslim men

September 28, 2017 11:53 pm | Updated 11:53 pm IST - New Delhi

A recent protest by students in Kochi seeking justice  for Hadiya.

A recent protest by students in Kochi seeking justice for Hadiya.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said it was scrutinising over 30 cases in Kerala where Hindu women were allegedly lured, forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men.

NIA had asked the Kerala police for details of forced conversions at Therbiyathul Islam Sabha in Kozhikode, a religious centre authorised by the Kerala government.

An NIA official said the State police sent the details of 92 cases but in the initial phase, the agency was concentrating only on 32 cases, which involved Hindu women.

Akhila-Hadiya case

Supreme Court had last month asked the federal anti-terror agency to investigate the case of Akhila Asokan alias Hadiya, a 25-year-old Hindu woman, who converted to Islam and married a Muslim man.

Akhila’s parents had moved the Kerala High Court in 2016 alleging that she was radicalised and converted to Islam and forcibly married to a Muslim man. The High Court annulled the marriage and Akhila’s husband Shafin Jahan moved the Supreme Court, which in turn asked the NIA to investigate the ‘love jihad’ case.

The NIA submitted a preliminary report in the apex court saying there was an “organised effort” behind the conversion. However, the NIA has not questioned Akhila even once. She had earlier told the Kerala police that she converted to Islam and married Shafi Jahan on her own.

The NIA had mentioned that Akhila’s case was similar to that of Athira Nambiar, another Hindu woman who converted to Islam at the religious centre in Kozhikode. Athira’s parents had moved a habeas corpus petition in the Kerala High Court against the conversion and the court had asked the NIA to probe the matter. The woman has since returned to her parents. “The Kerala police has provided us the details of forced conversions. As of now we are scrutinising 32 cases which involves Hindu women who converted to Islam and married Muslim men. We have to unearth the entire racket as we have been asked by Supreme Court to do so and Kerala Police registered FIRs in all these incidents based on a complaint by family members,” said an NIA official.

Focus on activist

In both the cases of alleged forced conversions, the NIA named a woman named Sainaba, an activist of the Social Democratic Party of India, the political arm of the Popular Front of India (PFI).

An NIA official said it had sent details of four terror cases where members of PFI were involved as the Centre was considering a ban on the outfit.

However, a senior Home Ministry official said there was no such proposal to immediately ban the outfit.

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