10:27 pm - Tuesday October 17, 2017

Love Jihad – Kerala sent list of 90 cases of `forced’ conversions to NIA.

The Kerala government may have opposed an NIA probe into `love jihad’ but only recently, it furnished a list of around 90 cases of “forced“ conversions and alleged luring of women into inter-faith relationships including marriage to the central investigating agency.

The information about the registered cases was intended to assist the NIA investigation. The NIA, on its part, has moved swiftly, recording statements of two Hindu girls, Athira Nambiar from Palakkad and another Athira from Bekal in Kasargod, where they attest to being “lured“ to embrace Islam and enter into a relationship with a Muslim partner.

Significantly, `radical’ Muslim outfit Popular Front of India and its political arm Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) have emerged as a common link in the “indoctrination“ and “luring“ of not only the two Athiras but also that of Akhila Asokan alias Hadiya.

Hadiya has insisted that she got married of her own free will. While Hadiya and Athira Nambiar allegedly had common PFI SDPI motivators including SDPI women’s wing chief Sainaba P S, the Bekal case investigation revealed the role of other activists working on the same lines. NIA sources indicated as many as 23 similar cases may have PFI links.

The state police, however, said they had handed over only four conversion cases so far ¬ three of them as part of IS recruitment case and the fourth the Hadiya case. “There is no denial of fact that conversions are happening in Kerala. And this is not confined to just one religion. Every month, the police get a list of conversion cases and this is a public document. I don’t know what list the NIA is talking about. If at all something was shared, that might be this data,“ state police chief Loknath Behera said.

The home ministry, incidentally, is contemplating banning PFI under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. A series of meetings has been held to debate whether to ban it as an “unlawful association“ or a “terrorist“ outfit, the latest consultation being on Tuesday
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The NIA is yet to question Hadiya or other suspects in the case relating to her “in doctrination and forced conversion“. However, it has started examining 90 similar cases registered by Kerala Police since 2015.
“The cases relate to forced conversions, inter-faith relationships and marriages, with complainants alleging a larger effort to `lure’ women to convert to Islam,“ said an officer. However, he added it had not been established so far that the forced conversions were aimed at pushing the girls to take up terror activities.

“In Hadiya’s case, her father’s fears that she was forced into marriage with Shafin Jahan to be taken out of the country to join the Islamic State was found to be without basis as she did not even have a passport,“ an NIA officer said.

The officer said even as the agency was pursuing investigation into `love jihad’ on the Supreme Court’s directions, other parties had filed pleas before the apex court to join proceedings. These include Hadiya’s father as well as mother of one Nimisha, who had converted to Islam and migrated to Khorasan in west Asia last year along with her husband.Incidentally, Section 57 of the Kerala Police Act does not distinguish between minor or adult as far as registering and enquiring into a “missing persons“ complaint is concerned.

Earlier the CPI (M) –led LDF government in Kerala has informed the Supreme Court (SC) that there is no scope for an investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Hadiya case.In an affidavit filed by additional chief secretary (Home) the government has submitted that the investigation conducted so far by the Kerala police has not revealed any incident relating to the commission of any Scheduled Offences to make a report to the central government under Section 6 of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, sources said.

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