The 2023 May 5 edition of national daily New Indian Express reported the story of Ashokan KM, a driver with the Indian Army. He has been working in the Defence Court in Fort Kochi after he took voluntary retirement in 1996. He is a bitter man today.
Akhila, Ashokan’s daughter, a Hindu was studying for Homoeopathy in Coimbatore, when She befriended Shahfin Jahan, a Muslim. She married him after converting to Islam. She was 25 then. She became Hadiya. In January 2016, Ashokan filed a habeas corpus petition with the Kerala High Court challenging the validity of the marriage on the ground of misleading and forcing Akhila to become a Muslim. The High Court rejected the petition stating that Hadiya has expressly affirmed her voluntary marriage to Shafin after conversion to Islam. The Court observed that Hadiya was not wrongfully confined by Sahfin Jahan.
After seven months, Ashokan filed another Habeas corpus writ before the High Court alleging that his daughter was forcefully converted to Islam, and that she was likely to be transported out of the country to join terrorist organizations like the ISIS, on the lines of ‘love jihad’.
The Court in this instant ruled in favor of Ashokan and held that it is the father’s responsibility to keep custody of his daughter until she realizes her actions. The Court exercised the parens patriae jurisdiction and maintained that it is for the welfare of the weak and vulnerable 25-year old girl.
The Court declared Hadiya’s wedding to Shahfin null and void, allowing Hadiya’s custody to her parents, though she did not consent to it.
Aggrieved by the order of the High Court, Shafin approached the Supreme Court. The Apex Court directed the National Investigation Agency to ascertain if the case involved a bigger conspiracy.
Today Hadiya lives as a Homeopathy doctor in Kottakal in Kerala.
Meanwhile, Ashokan claims that Hadiya has sent divorce papers to Shafin, who is under the control of Zainaba, a popular Front of India (PFI) activist, and Akhila’s ‘guardian’ after she left home. According to Ashokan, Shafin left her immediately after the Supreme Court verdict.
The sad father says he has never met Hadiya since 2018. Attempts to meet her were thwarted by Zainaba and her accomplices. When he did meet her when PFI leaders’ houses were being raided by the NIA to investigate love Jihad, Hadiya was trembling with fear, the reason for which Ashokan is in the dark. Hadiya refusing to pay her last respects when her mother passed away added to Ashokan’s bitterness. He plans to donate her share of his property to a social organization as she refuses to return home.
Ashokan welcomes the release of the controversial movie ’The Kerala Story’, which continues to make headlines in the country, especially Kerala. He says such movies create awareness among gullible girls and their unsuspecting parents oblivious of deceptive conversion rackets. The hurt Ashokan urges religious organizations to appoint counselors to prevent estrangement of gullible children from their parents who are caught off-guard. He plans to approach the High Court to have the NIA investigate Zainaba’s activities, who he claims to have converted 5000 women.
It is ‘The Kerala Story’ that brought Ashokan to the highlight in Kerala now. The Hindi film directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah Talks about the story of 32,000 Hindu and Christian women from Kerala, who converted to Islam, lured by Muslim men with whom they fall in love or marry, and migrate to countries like Afghanistan to join the ISIS and other organizations who operate by spreading fear through terrorism, threat and personal annihilation and harm.
The film courted controversy as it was thought to be the handiwork of the Sangh Parivar who by projecting Kerala as a hub of terrorism hopes to make inroads into Kerala’s political landscape. Kerala is one of the very few Indian states which have thus far prevented the lotus from blossoming. The ruling CPM-led LDF, and the opposition Congress led-UDF, the two fronts which take turns to govern Kerala instantly red-flagged the Sangh’s intentions. They saw an encore of ‘Kashmir Files’ through the release of ‘The Kerala Story’.
The Sangh considers attempts by Politicians of the two major fronts in Kerala to ban the movie as part of their agenda of appeasing Muslims for votes.
Political bickering apart, glaring meddling with facts and figures by the movie’s makers lends credence to the film being part of the Sangh’s agenda of Islamophobia and its propagation. Why then would taxes be slashed for the movie in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh?
While the film speaks about 32,000 girls victimized by Love Jihad in Kerala, figures from other sources suggests exaggeration of figures. The Observer Research Foundation in a 2019 report notes that about 60 to 70 individuals from Kerala had joined the ISIS between 2014 and 2018.
According to Indian government figures , not more than 100-200 Indians had joined the organization over the years. The US State Department in its 2020 report on terrorism had documented a total of 66 Indians affiliated with ISIS at that time. Besides politicians’ efforts to fish in troubled waters for obvious reasons, religious organizations, especially the Church have supported the controversial film, as Christian girls too have been converted to Islam to be trained as ISIS mercinaries.
Girls from Kerala joining terrorist organizations like the ISIS is an undeniable fact. If it is so, there are administrative methods to nip it. It is certainly within the government’s purview using its numerous agencies to douse it. Making a movie rife with exaggeration and hate only contributes to alienation and isolation of an entire community for the handiwork of a few indoctrinated zealots. Moreover the nation stands to lose in terms of communal amity and brotherhood among citizens.
Moreover, such films also add to the pain and grime the parents of victimized girls go through. Such films violate the sensibility and sensitivity of people like Ashokan who feel let down by their children.
Politicians who shed crocodile tears for the girls allegedly victimized by love jihad care three hoots for those parents whose loss is solely theirs’ and nobody elses’. For them, it is another opportunity to garner votes of the majority by drumming up religious passion- the universal poison, in the process ensuring proximity to power.
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