Statement by concerned citizens on the continued incarceration of Hadiya

We, the undersigned concerned citizens, are greatly disturbed by news reports of the NCW in-charge, Rekha Sharma’s visit to meet Hadiya at the home of her father, Mr. Asokan, where she continues to be incarcerated. These reports raise more fears than they allay.

Ms Hadiya has been reported by Ms Sharma to be ‘healthy and happy’. However, Ms. Sharma goes on to state, without providing any evidence whatsoever, that while there is no ‘love jihad’ in Kerala, there are forced conversions.

It bears reiteration that Ms. Hadiya is a twenty four year old adult woman, who took a decision to convert to Islam, and then to marry a Muslim man. For this exercise of self determination, Ms. Hadiya has been placed under house arrest in her parents’ control, and this shocking violation of Ms. Hadiya’s personal liberty and her right to take decisions about her own life, has been endorsed by the legal system.

The Supreme Court on October 30th, directed her father to produce her before the Court a month later on 27th November. We are deeply concerned that during this month long period, Ms. Hadiya will continue to suffer the agony of being held in captivity against her will; and her basic right to choice of religion and marriage partner as well as freedom of movement as a citizen will continue to be denied to her.

Now Ms Sharma’s statement essentially endorses the unconscionable and illegal house arrest of Ms Hadiya, with the certification of her being ‘healthy and happy’. Further Ms Sharma’s claim of forced conversions attempts to distort and cast a shadow on Hadiya’s decision.

Ms. Sharma’s tweets from so-called reconversion camps in Kerala, where adult women are held against their will, in which she claimed they were ‘victims of forced conversions’, seem intended to colour and influence Hadiya’s case and thus compromise her statutory role as NCW in-charge. We are aware that two women have been able to approach the Kerala High Court, swearing on affidavit that they have undergone torture at one such centre. The discourse of ‘forced conversions’ is a form of violent control over adult women taking decisions contrary to the wishes of their families.

Despite Hadiya stating clearly before the Kerala High Court several times over the past year that she has taken every decision about her life with complete knowledge and understanding, the court has essentially handed over her custody to her father.

For Hadiya to depose freely and truthfully before the Supreme Court on November 27th, it is imperative that she is first freed from the hostile and coercive circumstances of parental custody and be fully at liberty.

Hadiya’s rights and freedoms as an adult citizen must be restored, for which she must be freed immediately from house arrest and all steps taken to ensure that her decisions regarding her life are respected.

Signed:

Ayesha Kidwai, Professor, JNU, Delhi

Dipta Bhog, Women’s rights activist, New Delhi

Farah Naqvi, Independent Writer and Activist, Delhi

Forum Against Oppression of Women, Mumbai

Geeta Seshu, Independent journalist, Mumbai

Hasina Khan, Bebaak Collective, Mumbai

Heba Ahmed, Ph.D. student, Centre for Political Studies, JNU

Inji Pennu, Global Voices & Advocacy

J Devika, Centre For Development Studies, Trivandrum

Janaki Nair, Professor, JNU, Delhi

Jaya Sharma, Feminist activist, Delhi

Kalpana Kannabiran, Professor and Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad

Kavita Krishnan, All India Progressive Women’s Association

Kavita Panjabi, Professor, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

Kunjila, Women Against Sexual Harassment

LABIA- A Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Mumbai

Madhu Mehra, People for Law and Development, Delhi

Mary E John, Professor, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, Delhi

Meena Seshu, SANGRAM, Sangli

Mrudula Bhavani, Reporter, Narada News

Laxmi Murthy, Journalist, Consulting Editor of Himal SouthAsian

Meera Velayudhan, Policy Analyst, Centre For Development Studies, Trivandrum

Nivedita Menon, Professor, JNU, Delhi

Pratiksha Baxi, Professsor, JNU, Delhi

Pinjra Tod, Delhi

Rajni Tilak, Rashtriya Dalit Mahila Andolan

Ridhima Sharma, MPhil, Centre for Women’s Studies, JNU

Saba Dewan, Film-maker

Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, Delhi

Shabnam Hashmi, Social activist, Delhi

Shyamolie Singh, Student, JNU

Somaya Gupta, Centre for Political Studies, JNU

Suchitra Vijayan, Barrister at Law, Writer and founding director of The Polis Project

Uma Chakravarti, Feminist scholar and activist, Delhi

V Geetha, Feminist scholar and activist, Chennai

Varsha Basheer, Affiliated Faculty with IRDP, University of California Berkeley

Wency Mendes, Journalist, Goa

Asha Rani P.L, Research Scholar, School of International Relations and Politics

Anusha Paul, Communication Officer, World Cultural Forum

Aysha Mahmood, Columnist, and Social Activist

Banojyotsna Lahiri, Lecturer, Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University

Fathima RF, MA Women’s Studies, TISS Mumbai

2 thoughts on “Statement by concerned citizens on the continued incarceration of Hadiya

  1. K SHESHU BABU

    From the statements of Ms. Sharma, there are many evidences that can lead to inferences that Hadiya may be forced to admit her ‘ mistake’ and express happiness in her parents home. This might snatch her freedom to follow her own faith and choose her life partner irrespective of religion.
    The SC must immediately consider her case and liberate hr from the ‘ house of incarceration ‘ of her parents and assure her freedom and safety. Otherwise, she might be brutally coerced by her family and right wing forces ( including some right wing hindu womens organisations) to submit meekly to their diktats loosing her opinions and freedom

  2. Shruti Iyer

    How can we as citizens bear one of our own being incarcerated just because she choose a religion for herself. It should concern each and everyone as its an attack on individual freedom.

We look forward to your comments. Comments are subject to moderation as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s