Supreme Court Orders NIA to Probe Conversion of Kerala Woman to Islam

The order came after the NIA told the court that the marriage in question could be part of a 'larger mechanism' to convert Hindu girls to Islam.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday (August 16) asked the National Intelligence Agency to probe the truth behind a marriage in Kerala between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman who had converted to Islam. Though the woman, who is an adult, has repeatedly maintained that she converted to Islam voluntarily and wished to be with her husband, the investigative agency told the court that hers was not an isolated case and could be part of a larger ploy to convert Hindu girls to Islam if they had any trouble with their parents, the Times of India reported.

The Kerala high court had earlier annulled the marriage in question, calling it a case “love jihad”.

The 27-year-old woman woman herself remains incommunicado. She was forcibly taken home by her parents after the high court judgment.

The bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that the probe will be monitored by retired Supreme Court judge Justice R.V. Raveendran, Indian Express reported. The court will then take a decision after reading the NIA report, speaking to the woman involved and taking inputs from the Kerala police.

The court is hearing a petition filed by Shafin Jahan, asking that the court overturn the Kerala high court order annulling his marriage to Hadiya (who used to be called Akhila before she converted to Islam). The woman’s father has alleged that the conversion was a case of “love jihad”.

Appearing for the NIA, additional solicitor general Maninder Singh had told the bench, “We have arrived at some observations…The lady who takes custody gets them married…Some of the entities also appeared to be common… the girls leave their home because of differences with parents and somebody volunteers to give them shelter…this requires investigation.”

Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, argued against an NIA probe, saying the crime branch was still investigating the case and that the credibility of the NIA had become questionable. “This is an incident pertaining to Kerala. There are some very serious remarks made by the High Court. Today you say crime branch probe is not over…Why not?” Justice Khehar responded to Sibal, according to Indian Express.“Everybody wants a fair probe. Whether A agency or B agency probes. Someone will have a problem.”

Also read: The Kerala High Court Thinks Love Jihad Is Real, But Women’s Independence Is Not

The court also brought up the Blue Whale Challenge – which has apparently led teenagers in several countries to commit suicide – as an example of how people can be convinced to do things. “Have you heard about the Blue Whale challenge? Such things can drive people to do anything. We want inputs from all sides before we take a final decision,” Khehar told Sibal, according to Hindustan Times.

Appearing before the Kerala high court, Hadiya had said she converted to Islam before she met Shafin, Hindustan Times reported. However, he father insisted that she was “indoctrinated” and may be “sent to join ISIS”.