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‘I am a Muslim and want to remain one’: Hadiya to Supreme Court

Hadiya alias Akhila Ashokan, the woman at the center of the controversial Kerala ‘love jihad’ case, has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Courtstating that she is a Muslim and wants to remain one, news agency ANI reported.

In the affidavit, the 25-year-old further stated that she wants to stay the wife of Shafi Jahan, for whom she had converted to Islam in order to get married.

Hadiya had repeatedly petitioned the apex court, requesting that she be allowed to be with her husband after the Kerala High Court annulled their marriage in May last year, terming it as an instance of ‘love jihad’. The HC had also made Hadiya’s father her legal guardian.

Jahan had challenged the high court order in the Supreme Court, which in turn referred the investigation to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Matters took a hairy turn when the NIA submitted before the SC that a “well-oiled machinery working in Kerala” was indulging in indoctrination and radicalisation of women, and 89 such cases had been reported.

On November 27, last year, the apex court freed Hadiya from her parents’ custody and sent her to college to pursue her studies. This was after she attest appeared before a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra that she was not forced into wedlock and she married Jahan out of her own choice. Even then, the young woman had pleaded that she be allowed to go with her husband.

Last month, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the legality of marriages among consenting adults couldn’t be examined by courts and investigating agencies and added that its decision on Hadiya’s marriage to Shafin Jahan would not be influenced by the NIA probe it had ordered into the larger “love jihad conspiracy”.

 Stating that marriage needs to be separated from criminal conspiracy, the bench affirmed that Hadiya is an adult and not a child, and as such, the court cannot question her personal choice.

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