Kochi: The Kerala High Court has declared as ‘null and void,’ the marriage of a 24-year-old woman who was allegedly forced to convert to Islam after being abducted and wrongfully confined in Kerala’s Malappuraman district.
A division bench of Justices K Surendra Mohan and K Abraham Mathew passed the order on a petition by Asokan, a retired armyman and father of the woman. He had alleged that she was forced to convert at an ‘illegal Islamic conversion centre’.
“The marriage which is alleged to have been performed is a sham and is of no consequence in the eye of law,” the court said.
It said Sainaba and her husband, who had given the woman away in marriage, had no authority to act as her guardian.
The petitioner alleged that his daughter was abducted and wrongfully confined in an illegal Islamic conversion centre in Malappuram district, and was forced to convert before her marriage on December 19 last year.
Allowing the writ plea of the father, the bench granted the custody of the woman to her parents and directed the police to provide protection to them.
The bench ordered a probe into activities of organisations allegedly involved conversions.
“Such investigation shall be completed as expeditiously as possible and persons who are found to be guilty shall be brought to book,” it said.
Last year, the High Court had ordered a police probe into the ‘antecedents’ of a Muslim educational and charitable organisation in Malappuram district on the petitioner’s charge that it was an ‘illegal Islamic conversion centre’ and his
daughter was ‘wrongfully’ confined there. He had claimed they had plans to take the woman to strife-torn Syria.
The police was also directed to probe the antecedents of Sathya Sarani girls hostel in Manjeri in Malappuram district and also about the girl’s local guardian AS Sainaba.
The petitioner had alleged that Sathya Sarani was an illegal Islamic conversion centre run by Popular Front of India, an organisation founded by the leaders of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India.
Taking newly converted people to Syria, making them join the terror group ISIS and involving them in terrorist activities was a well-known tactic of Islamic extremist organisations in Kerala, he had claimed.