Published: Thu, August 17, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Kerala Love Jihad controversy: Supreme Court orders NIA probe

Kerala Love Jihad controversy: Supreme Court orders NIA probe

The Supreme Court on Wednesday handed over the alleged Kerala "love jihad" case to National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The court was told during the hearing that the Kerala government did not have any objection if it wanted a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe.

Safin Jahan has challenged the Kerala HC order of May last, annulling his marriage, saying it was a case of "Love Jihad".

A top court bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar said retired judge RV Raveendran will monitor the NIA probe.

In a judgment given on May 25 this year, a division bench of the Kerala High Court had called her marriage a "sham", and had annulled it, directing her return to the protective custody of her Hindu parents.

Jahan also claimed that he met Hadiya through a Muslim matrimony site in August a year ago and they married in December. He had also alleged that Jahan is a criminal and that Hadiya had been trapped by a network with connections to the Islamic State.

The apex court asked the investigative agency to begin the probe after the state's police readily agreed to bow out of the investigation into the case.

The bench, which allowed Jahan to file his response to the NIA's plea, had said that the central probe agency would not be able to assist the police in a fair manner if it was not allowed access to the probe records.

Earlier, the Kerala High Court had termed the marriage as "null and void" terming the arrangement as "love Jihad" and ordering the state police to look into such matters.

On August 4, the girl's father Ashokan K M claimed she fell victim to a "well-oiled radicalization and conversion campaign" over there.

"We want inputs from all sides before we take a final decision", he said. "There is a pattern to convert Hindu girls and get them married to Muslim men", it said. The SC order comes after Kapil Sibal, said the court should decide the issue after speaking to the girl.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh said that the case of conversion and marriage of the woman in the headlines was not an isolated one as there was another case having a similar pattern and featuring people who he termed "investigators".

The Bench had observed that it gathered the "impression that the petitioner (Shafin Jahan) does not desire the correct and independent view of the controversy" to be brought before the apex court, and said: "We want to see whether it is an isolated case or a larger issue is involved (sic)".

"There is already a special investigation team and the probe is proceeding".

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