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No conversion for money seen in ‘love jihad’ cases: NIA

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) informed the Supreme Court earlier this week that none of the men and women it examined in cases that emerged while investigating the Kerala ‘love jihad’ case were enticed by monetary benefits to convert to Islam. The agency said there were other methods used to convert them to Islam that included religious propaganda.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while addressing a press conference on the issue, claimed on Wednesday that “if anyone voluntarily wants to follow any faith that the Constitution permits it was their right...but inducement, intimidation and allurement (to convert) by money is illegal.” Mr. Prasad also linked the conversions to terror cases.

In a status report filed before the Supreme Court on Monday the NIA had said that it examined six persons who claimed they were lured to convert to Islam and a “common thread” ran through them.

The 70-page report in a sealed cover was filed by the agency pertaining to the ongoing investigation in the case where Asokan, the father of a 25-year-old Hindu woman, Akhila alias Hadiya, has alleged that his daughter was forced to convert to Islam and marry a Muslim man.

Mr. Asokan told the NIA that his daughter continues to maintain her stand that she converted to Islam on her own and married Shafin Jahan willingly.

“We have put the father’s statement on record in the status report filed before the SC. We are yet to examine Hadiya and her husband. The SC has asked the father to produce her on November 27,” a senior NIA official said.

As reported by The Hindu, the NIA told the apex court that the agency was not able to question Hadiya even once as her father said she was not in the “right frame of mind.”

“There are two aspects to the case, one that Hadiya converted to Islam and married on her own. The other aspect is that a common set of people were involved in her conversion and those of others. The first aspect might not lead to a criminal case but the apex court has to decide about PFI, the organisation and the action to be taken against it,” said the official.

The Kerala Police had handed over a list of 89 cases to NIA where families or individuals had alleged they were asked to forcibly convert to Islam. Of these cases, around 30 pertained to Hindu men and women and the remaining belonged to other religions.

The NIA said it examined nine such cases of conversion to Islam and in at least four, the involvement of members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) was established. The agency said it had examined a woman named Sainaba, an activist of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political arm of the PFI and would question her again.

Earlier this week, a Kerala-based social activist Rahul Easwar released a 17-second video of Hadiya where she is heard speaking about threat to her life from her father.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 10:20:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-conversion-for-money-seen-in-love-jihad-cases-nia/article19966254.ece

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