"Wasn't forced to convert to Islam", says woman in alleged Kerala Love Jihad case
While the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the National Investigation Agency to probe an alleged case of love jihad in Kerala, the woman in question, Akhila Ashokan rechristened Hadiya has said that she did not convert to Islam by force.
In a video played by news channels, Hadiya is seen saying that she embraced Islam by choice. "I did not convert to Islam because of anyone's force or incitement. I understood what Islam is and realised its truth and only then converted. I do not believe in idol worship anymore and that is why I embraced Islam," the video shows Hadiya saying.
The video comes at a time when the Supreme Court has asked the NIA to investigate the love jihad angle in Hadiya's conversion and marriage to a Muslim NRI man. The investigation will be under the supervision of former SC judge Justice RV Raveendran. Hadiya had told the Kerala High Court too that the decision to embrace Islam was her own. Her father Ashokan, however, had argued that she had been wired to say so.
The NIA was asked to probe the matter after it told the court that it had observed a pattern of conversion in Kerala. The incident of many youngsters from Kerala converting and leaving the country to join the ISIS had rattled the state. The Kerala high court had annulled Akhila's marriage to Shefin Jahan who then approached the Supreme Court.
Hadiya's statement comes at a time when the country is debating about love jihad, choice of conversion and consensual marriage. The NIA will also probe the role of an institution in Kerala that is said to have helped Hadiya convert to Islam and also arranged for her marriage with Jahan.