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Loveless Patriarchy

The patriarchal complex of state, society and family converge to deny Hadiya both agency and dignity.

The judiciary’s increasing incline towards Hindu right-wing populism has worrying consequences for feminist judicial activism. A reminder of this is the Supreme Court ruling in the case of a young adult woman, Hadiya from Kerala, who was illegally confined in her natal home after her consensual marriage to an adult male, Shafin Jahan, was declared invalid by the Kerala High Court. The Supreme Court has most unexpectedly involved the National Investigation Agency to investigate whether Hadiya’s marriage of choice may actually be a symptom of a larger conspiracy by the terror outfit Islamic State to recruit youth into its ranks through the intimate weapon of mass conversion, better known as Love Jihad. This has disappointed activists who considered the judiciary as the last standing pillar upholding constitutional values and protecting women’s freedoms.

Hadiya was born a Hindu with the name Akhila Ashokan. She got attracted to Islam in the course of her interactions with Muslim peers when studying for a degree in physiotherapy. She decided to convert to Islam against the will of her parents and lived independently under her new identity as Hadiya. The courts rejected two habeas corpus petitions by her father and endorsed her right to take life-altering decisions. However, this changed when Hadiya got married to Jahan. The Kerala High Court annulled her marriage and granted custody to her parents.

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Updated On : 4th Sep, 2017

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