Sunday, January 29, 2023
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Hadiya case shows that instead of fighting terror, the NIA has become a marriage bureau

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It is high time the so-called ‘love jihad’ propaganda of the BJP and RSS is exposed, writes AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

At last, after the Supreme Court judgement, Hadiya has got her freedom, though belatedly. She has rightly said all along that she was kept in unlawful confinement for 11 months.

There is, however, a lot of confusion about the Supreme Court order. But I am of the opinion that Hadiya should be able to live her life and she can now do whatever she wants. Yes, she has to follow the norms of the hostel where she will be made to stay. But outside the hostel, she is free to meet anyone.

Many people have also raised questions about why the honourable Supreme Court has given her a guardian. Yes, she is a 24-year-old woman and she is an adult. But as far as I am concerned, this order does not stop her from meeting anyone, or from continuing with her life as she wishes to. She is free to practice her faith now.

Before leaving for Delhi this week, she told the media at the Kochi airport, “I am a Muslim. I have embraced Islam of my own free will. Nobody has compelled me to become a Muslim. I want justice. I want to live with my husband.”

This is not a case of ‘love jihad’, which the Sangh Parivar was shouting about from the rooftops. Hadiya had converted to Islam out of her own free will. There was no inducement, there was no fraud or pressure on her. She got married to her husband after placing an advertisement in the newspaper.

It is high time that we expose the so-called love jihad propaganda of the BJP and RSS.

I hope the order will make Hadiya’s life easier, as she has suffered a lot. The nullification of her marriage by the Kerala High Court was unfortunate and was, I respectfully say, the wrong decision. But from January, I am sure things will be completely normal for her, she should be able to lead her life according to her own wishes and decisions.

There are also questions about the role of the NIA, which told the Supreme Court on Monday that Hadiya’s husband had spoken to an ISIS recruiter. If that is the case, why have they not arrested him? And how is that conversation connected to Hadiya’s marriage to that person? Did they ever stop Colonel Purohit’s wife from meeting him because of his activities? NIA also said that she was hypnotised or some neuroscience formula was used on her. Again, this is rubbish because medical research has not accepted such claims.

Unfortunately, the NIA has become a mouthpiece of the ruling party. Their charter is to stop terrorism and shut down counterfeit currency. Instead, the NIA seems to have become part of a marriage bureau, which is very unfortunate.

Finally, let us look at the larger issue of religious conversion that has become very political now.

There were two attempts post-Independence to introduce anti-conversion laws in Parliament. Both Bills were opposed by Nehru in 1955, stating that general penal law was sufficient to clamp down on illegal conversions and that an anti-conversion law would result in harassment of minorities.

However, many states have passed laws to regulate conversions, that are ironically, and conveniently, called “freedom of religion” laws. These laws are modelled on the Orissa anti-conversion law passed in 1967, and do not directly ban conversion, but make conversion by “force, allurement, inducement or fraud” illegal. These terms are not defined, giving the state a wide berth to harass the powerless.

Under the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act of 2006, if a person chooses to convert, he has to declare it before a District Magistrate. Even the religious priest who “directly or indirectly participates” should give details of the purification ceremony and details of person whose religion is going to be changed to the District Magistrate a month in advance.

Under the Chattisgarh law, a person who desires to convert has to give 30-day notice and get permission from the District Magistrate. The same clause is also present in the new Jharkhand law, with a penalty of Rs 5,000 or imprisonment for a year. In Jharkhand’s law, the word “force” also includes the “threat of divine displeasure”.

These laws now have to be reconsidered in light of the recent landmark Supreme Court verdict on privacy. What anyone eats or wears, and who anyone marries, is now their own prerogative. These state laws are actually stopping people from exercising their free choice or their decisional authority.

Anti-conversion laws were passed in Orissa in 1967 under a Swatantra Party government; in Madhya Pradesh in 1968 under the Samyukta Vidhayak Dal coalition (which included the Jan Sangh); in Gujarat in 2003 and Chhattisgarh in 2006 under the BJP governments. The Jayalalithaa government in Tamil Nadu passed a law in 2002, but repealed it two years after its passage.

The only Congress government to pass such a law was in Himachal Pradesh in 2006. Rajasthan passed an anti-conversion law in 2006, but the governor refused to sign the law. Arunachal Pradesh passed such a law in 1978 under the People’s Party of Arunachal, but it was never enforced as rules have not been framed to date. Jharkhand became the latest BJP state in 2017 to pass an anti-conversion law.

But the Supreme Court, while explaining the relationship between the right to privacy and right to religion, very clearly stated that the freedom to choose a religion and the decision to express it or keep it secret, is part of one’s right to privacy.

Therefore, any anti-conversion law that requires the prior permission of the state can now be challenged as being violative of privacy.

Asaduddin Owaisi is a Member of Parliament, AIMIM

Also read: Hadiya wants freedom and her husband. Only gets to go back to college

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Owaisi why do not you speak about laws on muslim girls marrying non muslim. Why it is forbidden in most Islamic countries. You are using double standards.

  2. Owaisi should explain why 20 families from Kerala – along with their wives and children have emigrated to fight for jehad in Afghanistan and become part of the Islamic State ?

    Those predatory religions practising monotheism and using allurements and inducements are the most vocal dissenters of the anti-conversion bill. And if conversion is a legitimate activity – please ask Mr owaisi to explain his loud protestation against the Ghar Wapasi campaign ?

    Owaisi and Islamists like him can’t have their cake and eat it too under the guise of “secularism”. Their pernicious attempts to spread radical Islam stands exposed in Kerala where Islamic state and radical imaams are sending people to die in foreign lands and hapless women are being brainwashed into a feudal system of patriarchy that is anti-thetical to Indian values and Indian culture.

    Preventing the exploitation of the poor, the uneducated and the vulnerable and protecting society as a whole from the violence of proselytizing religions is a fundamental part of the right to life and liberty and is incumbent on the Govt of India to protect such groups against the campaign of radical Islamists and evangelical Chirstian missionaries funded through hawala and NGOs.

    The right to “privacy” cannot be a shield to protect criminal behavior and hide exploitation and malafide attempts at demographic warfare .

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