Kottayam: When a group of women activists went to meet Hadiya at her home in Kerala's Kottayam, her parents did not allow them to meet her, they have said in a Facebook post. As they were leaving, they allege, they heard the 25-year-old cry out for help from a window.
Hadiya shouted, "Save me. They are beating me," the group, Women's Collective, said in a video it has posted. "We went with flowers, books and chocolates to meet Hadiya and her family. Her parents didn't allow us to meet her, but we saw Hadiya cry out from the window...This is human rights violation," said one of the women.
Hadiya is a trained homeopath who was born Akhila Ashokan and converted to Islam six years ago. Her marriage to Shafin Jahan, 27, is being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to explore whether vulnerable young Hindu women are being recruited by terror organisations as part of what is called "love jihad" by right-wing organisations, who allege an Islamist conspiracy to convert Hindu women by having Muslim men court and marry them.
Hadiya's marriage was annulled by the Kerala High Court based on her father Ashokan KM's claim that Shafin Jahan has links to terror-outfit ISIS and that he targeted Hadiya as part of "love jihad." At least 20 young people who have gone missing in Kerala are believed to have joined the ISIS in Syria and Afghanistan.
Hadiya told the High Court that she converted to Islam of her own volition and that she met Shafin through a matrimonial site much later. The court however observed that "the marriage was a sham and doesn't stand legal grounds" and ordered Hadiya to return to Kottayam's Vaikom town to live with her parents where, activists allege, she is being held in a single room for the last three months, without being allowed to step out. There is tight police security outside her home.
The women who attempted to meet Hadiya say they got together on Facebook and did not know each other before they came together to try and help her. "We didn't even know each other and are from different parts of Kerala. We just decided to go to her home after we read media reports about her," said another member of the group.
Hadiya's husband has filed a petition in Supreme Court challenging the High Court order annulling their marriage. Earlier this month the top court said the NIA, the country's top counter terror agency, will investigate the marriage and the probe will be supervised by a former judge.
In a video posted recently by activist Rahul Eashwar, Hadiya, wearing a head scarf, asked her mother, "Is this what my life is going to be?" Her mother is seen wailing, "I want my daughter back".
Rahul Eashwar said the video was shot with permission of the family. "The girl says she wants to continue and die as a Muslim," he said.