AIDWA expresses its concern about the recent case of Akhila Asokan

AIDWA is concerned about Hadiya’s safety and her ability to depose freely on this matter should be given the utmost priority. ...

हाइलाइट्स

It is extremely unfortunate that the term ‘love jihad’ coined by right-wing groups who have been opposing inter-community, inter-caste marriages should have been given sanction by certain judicial pronouncements.  

AIDWA expresses its concern about the recent case of Akhila Asokan

The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) expresses its concern about the recent case of Akhila Asokan, a 24 year old adult girl from Kerala who married a Muslim man of her own choice.

Text of AIDWA’s release is as follows

The Kerala High Court shockingly annulled her consensual marriage and sent her back to the custody of her parents on May 24, 2017, upon the plea made by the latter - which in itself was a highly patriarchal and legally unsound judgement. This was executed despite a statement by Akhila Asokan (who adopted the name Hadiya after her conversion)  recorded by the Kerala Police, in which she has consistently maintained that she had decided to convert to Islam and to get married to Shafin Jahan of her own free will. Subsequently, when Hadiya’s husband Shafin Jahan moved the Supreme Court, we feel that the SC while hearing the matter should have upheld the right of a woman to choose her life partner and intervened to restore her legal rights. Instead it directed the NIA to investigate the matter without giving a hearing to Hadiya.

It is extremely unfortunate that the term ‘love jihad’ coined by right-wing groups who have been opposing inter-community, inter-caste marriages should have been given sanction by certain judicial pronouncements.  

It is alarming that an adult who is entitled to her own decision in the matter of her marriage, and her choice of religion, has been denied her rights. The Kerala High Court judgement reveals an extremely conservative mind set while forcing Hadiya into the custody of her father. Parental opposition does not give a right to imprison the married daughter. This is not justifiable, under any circumstances, and is a blatant violation of Hadiya’s constitutional rights to choose her life partner.

It has been reported that Hadiya has been kept completely incommunicado under strict surveillance. AIDWA state and district leaders have been trying to meet her but to no avail. Even state level institutions like the State Women’s Commission have not been allowed to meet her. She has not even been allowed a phone and has been denied any contact with the rest of the world.

AIDWA is concerned about Hadiya’s safety and her ability to depose freely on this matter should be given the utmost priority. The investigation must be undertaken in an unbiased manner, and the report submitted to the Supreme Court at the earliest. The authorities must take all steps to scotch baseless assumptions and malicious rumours that are likely to fuel communal tension. The constitutional rights of adult women to make their own choices must be firmly upheld at every level. 

Malini Bhattacharya                                               Mariam Dhawale

            President                                                   General Secretary

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