Hadiya Jahan, the woman at the center of the alleged Kerala “love jihad” case, has finally broken her silence, days after the Supreme Court released her from her parent’s custody.
The court ordered that Hadiya be sent back to the Sivaraj Homeopathic Medical College in Tamil Nadu. Addressing the media on 29 November, Hadiya said:
I need freedom. I need the freedom to meet the person I love. I wanted to meet my husband. I am asking for fundamental rights. Till now I did not get freedom. I don’t know if this is going to be another prison.Hadiya Jahan
Hadiya said that the college still didn’t have any clarity over the court order and that she will have to wait a few more days.
I’ve not contacted anyone who I want so far. For 6 months I was put up with people I hate. They only tried to convert me. My own parents said I’m mentally unstable. I spoke to my father yesterday. I called my husband but he did not answer.Hadiya Jahan
The Principal of the Sivaraj Homeopathic Medical college had initially told reporters that Hadiya will be admitted back as Akhila and will be allowed to meet only her parents.
He also said that Hadiya will have to continue as Akhila Ashokan, as that was the name under which she was admitted. He added that if she could change her name if she produced the valid documents. Principal G Kannan told The Indian Express:
See, I do not know who her husband is. She is still Akhila for us, and her guardians are her parents who admitted her. In the present scenario, I will not allow anyone except her parents. We will make sure that I or an official are present when her parents visit her
However, on morning of 29 November, he said that he has read the court order and would abide by it. He said he would allow Hadiya to meet her husband and anyone else she wants. He also told NDTV that Hadiya would be given limited internet access.
Hadiya had categorically termed the last few months of her stay with her parents as illegal confinement and had called the Supreme Court order a victory for herself and Shafin Jahan. Her marriage to Shafin was annulled by the Kerala High Court in May 2017 and the Supreme Court has not yet said anything about the marriage.
Shafin's lawyers, those representing the Kerala government, and the State Women's Commission had said that the SC order did not prohibit Hadiya from meeting Shafin.
Reacting to the Supreme Court order, Hadiya's father Ashokan said that it has provided him relief. He said that he had wanted his daughter to complete her education and did not want a 'terrorist at home', alluding to Jahan.
Hadiya's father had first opposed her conversion to Islam. When the Kerala High Court dismissed his petition, he approached the court again a few months later alleging that there were plans by terrorist groups to take Hadiya to Syria. It was between this hearing that Hadiya got married to Shafin.
(With inputs from TNM, The Indian Express and NDTV)
(This is a developing story and will be updated)
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