Hadiya Case: She met Shafin Jahan through an Islamist matrimonial website. (Reuters)
New Delhi: 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.
Here are the top 10 developments in the Hadiya Case:
Speaking in Malayalam that was translated for three judges, Hadiya, previously Akhila, said she had been kept in "unlawful custody" for 11 months by the Kerala High Court and her parents.
She also said she wanted to complete her studies, and that her husband would support her financially.
Hadiya had to wait for nearly two hours to speak as arguments revolved around whether the hearing should be held in camera, or behind closed doors, with the National Investigation Agency or NIA building a case about terror links and a pattern of forced conversions.
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 Hadiya stayed with him for only 48 hours before her father went to the police.