NCHRO Delegation met MLA’s on Justice for Hadiya, Freedom of Religion and Constitutional Rights.
The NCHRO delegation met with the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA’s) sought their intervention so that Hadiya’s illegal incarceration is put an end to, ensure she is both physically and mentally safe, and her rights as an individual are given their due. The NCHRO petition urging MLA’s to act on protecting human rights and freedoms in our country, the state of the justice system and the prospect of justice for Hadiya. We are attempting to what is needed to move society forward in affirming both freedom and rights and moving in line with constitutional rights.
This case has several implications and raises important questions about an adult woman’s basic, constitutionally-sanctioned right to choose her faith and her partner, and a woman’s agency in general, the Kerala high court’s dubious right to declare adult woman’s autonomy and freedom to choose the course of her life despite her repeated pleas that she was not forcibly converted nor was she forced to marry; the high court’s attitude has been quite obscurantist and its judgement clearly biased, never even considered Hadiya’s own stand on the issue, refused to imagine a woman has her own will and volition. The Supreme Court’s strange direction to the National Investigative Agency to make an inquiry in to the shadowy fears of “love jihad”, feeding into a communal narrative. The court has perhaps unwittingly lent a semblance of credence to the right wing’s bogey of “love jihad”. It should have avoided wading into political territory and asserted the centrality of individual freedom as the cornerstone of the Constitution. It has set a dangerous precedent that can surely be used to curb the agency and autonomy of Indian women.
Ever since the HC verdict, Hadiya has been confined to her parents’ home. She has not been allowed to go outside or meet anyone without her father’s permission. She is not allowed to go outside her house and she is not even allowed to meet journalists.” Hadiya has been under the custody of her father in Kottayam since May against the wishes she expressed to the Kerala high court. The rights of a free citizen in a free country cannot be suspended in this manner. There is no virtue in conforming to the dominant political narrative without the strength of the law. Nothing can be more unjust and inhuman than preventing a married couple from living together under the same roof on flimsy political reasons.
The essential issue here is not one of religion at all, It is one of woman’s freedom and agency, and more generally of human rights. Persons of diverse belief and cultures coexist together, freedom of religion should find many opportunities of being expressed in the world today. The NCHRO delegation extended its sincere appreciation to the human rights activists for their support provided to uphold human rights of a poor women.