The father of Hadiya -- the Kerala woman whose marriage to a Muslim man generated questions on forced conversions and the so called love jihad - has joined the BJP. KM Ashokan, who had asked the Kerala High Court to annul his daughter's marriage claiming she was brainwashed, said he is disenchanted with the ruling CPM, the party he supported, over its handling of the Sabarimala issue.
Mr Ashokan joined the party last week through online membership. He got his party card today from senior BJP leader G Gopalakrishnan at a Sabarimala protection camp. The CPM, he told the media, was playing "dirty politics" over the temple issue.
The Left government of Pinarayi Vijayan is gearing up to provide security to women who wish to enter the hill shrine after the Supreme Court ended its traditional ban on women between the age of 10 and 50 years. For two months since that judgment, protesters - allegedly backed by the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh- have been intent on keeping the status quo. They have harassed and threatened the women, attacked media personnel and resorted to violence.
Hadiya, born Akhila Ashokan, had converted to Islam when she was 23 and months later, married Shafin Jehan, who had returned to India after working in Oman for a few years. The two had met through a matrimonial website affiliated to an organization.
KM Ashokan had approached the courts, claiming Shafin Jahan was a terrorist who wanted to take their daughter to Syria and recruit her for terror activities. He also asked the court for the custody of his daughter. The family's allegation dovetailed with right wing groups' concept of love jihad -- a term they use to accuse Muslim men of drawing Hindu women into relationships and converting them.
Hadiya had claimed that her father was being "misguided" by "anti-national forces" to further their own agenda.
After the National Investigation Agency said the matrimonial organization through which Hadiya and Shafin Jahan met was linked to terror activities, the Kerala high court annulled Hadiya's marriage and gave her custody to her parents.
But Hadiya's husband moved Supreme Court in March 2018, arguing that as an adult, she has the right to decide.
The marriage was restored after the judges spoke to the 24-year-old. Hadiya is an adult and "she told us in court she is married...we can't question the legitimacy of her marriage," the Supreme Court said.
Hadiya was freed from her parents' custody and sent to complete her studies at a homeopathy medical college in Salem in November.
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