The incident in which a woman was stabbed to death inside a court compound for converting to another religion that took place in Kerala might be the first and the final instance of similar nature in India.
Aminakutty aka Chiruthakutty was murdered by RSS workers in 1987 while leaving the Mattancherry court. The matter is related to one’s faith. Things such as which religion to follow or whether to follow any religion at all are totally based on an individual’s personal choices. The country’s Constitution grants the freedom for making this choice. However, those who give communal colour to religion, do not accept religious conversions. When anybody from their family, locality or group/organisation converts into another faith, they consider it a crime. That’s why incidents like slaughtering the woman inside the court premises for converting to another religion takes place.
RSS is an organisation that carries out the ‘scheme’ of murdering those undergo religious conversion. Besides Aminakutty, Yasir from Tirur and Faisal from Kodinhi have also been become victims of RSS attack for changing their faiths. Abducting and harassing those converted to other religions as well as running special centres for bringing them back to their faiths are all part of the Sangh Parivar’s scheme. However, an interesting aspect is that, secular organisations and liberal intellectuals don’t not give the deserving seriousness to the atrocities carried out in the name of religious conversion. They too are in the grip of caste-supremacy. That is the reason why the public conscience of Kerala fail to remember the slaying of Aminakutty inside the court compound even during discussions on Fascism. The reason for Faisal’s murder when the LDF is in power, without any specific provocation and the culprits coming out on bail the third day, is also the same. The reason for the indifferent approach adopted by the government and our secular conscience, despite the news reports about a centre where women who convert to other religions or are married to men belonging to other faiths are confined and harassed, is no different as well.
It’s in this context, that the Hadiya case which made headlines even in international media should be analysed. The High Court verdict nullifying the marriage of Akhila, a resident of Vaikom who converted to Islam, and handing over her custody to her parents came on May 24, 2017. Other than granting her parents the custody over her, the court did not order to confine her at her home or stop her from communicating with others. However, when the Hadiya case reached the Supreme Court, the judges had more than once stated that it was wrong to put her under house arrest. But Hadiya has been confined at her home for more than five months. Reports related to her that are now surfacing, trigger much apprehension.
The activists who intervene in the matter say that Hadiya has been drugged while being held captive. In case that is true, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. In 1987, a youth named Satyanathan who converted to Islam from Medical College, Calicut, was subjected to shock treatment for months at a mental hospital. The media had a few days earlier described the harassment faced by Ashita, who hails from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s village, at a Ghar Wapasi centre in Tripunithura for being in a relationship with a man belonging to another faith. She said that she was forcefully taken to a hospital run by a Godman and given a certificate that proved that she was mentally ill. Although it’s been days after the woman divulged the truth, the government has so far been reluctant to intervene in any manner. She fled the place and is still absconding. If this is the case of a woman who hails from the same place as the Chief Minister, then one could imagine the plight of Hadiya. The most important aspect of Hadiya case is that neither the High Court nor the Supreme Court were willing to hear her. The case will be heard in the Supreme Court on October 30. The apex court might sometimes, call Hadiya in person. If one suspects whether it’s the plan to make her mentally sick by then which is being executed, then they couldn’t be blamed.
The Hadiya case has developed into one that has a political and social relevance. The state government however, adopts a cold stance in the matter which is extremely grave. The government has the duty to immediately send the fact finding group to inquire about the truth as well as to inform the people. If she has been denied her Constitutional rights, the government has the responsibility to give it back to her as well. The government shouldn’t make matters worse by failing to act on time.