The National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into interfaith marriages in Kerala came to an end, and no evidence of coercion was found in any of the supposed cases of ‘love jihad’ said a report by Hindustan Times.
The investigation into interfaith marriages in Kerala happened in the background of the Hadiya case. No evidence was found to suggest that the men and women in these relationships were being forced to marry and convert to the Islamic faith. According to officials familiar with the case, while there may have been attempts made to facilitate conversions, the NIA could not recover any evidence of a larger criminal design that could lead to prosecution of these cases.
Hadiya a 24 year old then had converted to Islam and married a Muslim man, Shafin Jahan. She stated that she had done these acts on her own volition. Her father couldn’t accept their marriage and filed a case against Jahan, alleging that he had brainwashed and forced Hadiya to convert. The Kerala high court, in May 2017, annulled their marriage and placed Hadiya under house arrest in the ‘custody’ of her parents. The Supreme Court overturned the high court order a year later in March, restoring Hadiya’s marriage to Shafin Jahan stating that she was an adult woman and she had the freedom to make her own choices and the court couldn’t intervene in a consensual marriage.
“The NIA is not supposed to file any further report in this regard in the Supreme Court. As far as the NIA is concerned, the matter stands closed as the agency has not found any evidence to suggest that in any of these cases either the man or the woman was coerced to convert,” the official said to Hindustan Times. He also stated that they had uncovered three cases of failed conversions during the course of their investigation.
The agency had looked into 11 inter-faith marriages from a list of 89 marriages that were in the law enforcement database, mostly due to complaints filed by parents. The examination was part of the enquiry ordered by the Supreme Court into cases of ‘love jihad’ or forceful conversion of Hindu men and women into Islam.
The agency had looked into 11 inter-faith marriages from a list of 89 marriages that were in the law enforcement database, mostly due to complaints filed by parents. The examination was part of the enquiry ordered by the Supreme Court into cases of ‘love jihad’ or forceful conversion of Hindu men and women into Islam
PFI’s legal advisor KP Muhammer Shareef, talking to Hindustan Times, said that the concept of ‘love jihad’ was a construction by right-wing forces to specifically target the Muslim community. “Umpteen investigations and enquiries conducted by various agencies have now found the allegation of love jihad is obnoxious, fictitious and without any scintilla of evidence,” said Shareef.
The NIA official however warned against a clean chit to PFI. “There are separate criminal cases of serious charges of murder going on against the alleged cadres of PFI. Those matters are being dealt (with) separately,” he said.
The NIA had, in most of the cases found that a similar set of people and organisations associated with Popular Front of India (PFI) were involved in helping either the man or the woman in a relationship convert to Islam. But, it did not find any evidence to prosecute anybody under any of the scheduled offences of the NIA like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the report said. It also stated that they had uncovered three cases of failed conversions during the course of their investigation.