STATEMENT FOR HADIYA – With Respect to NWC Chair Rekha Sharma’s Visit

“We, the undersigned concerned citizens, are greatly disturbed by news of 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 24-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 30, directed her father to produce her before the Court a month later on November 27. 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 an 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 27, 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, Delhi

Inji Pennu, Global Voices, and 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 Mascillamani, 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, Professor, JNU, Delhi

Pinjra Tod, Delhi

Rajni Tilak, Rashtriya Dalit Mahila Andolan

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

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, Delhi

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 PL, 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

Sushmita Verma, Researcher, CJP, Mumbai

Pushpa Achanta, Journalist & Trainer, Bangalore

Radhu Raj S, Executive Content Curator, SPi Global Technology, Pondicherry

Leela Solomon, Assistant Editor, Economic and Political Weekly, Mumbai

Sandra Eliswa, Kochi

Priyanka I, Researcher, Mumbai

K.M. Seethi, Chairman, Board of Studies, School of International Relations and Politics

Irshad Morayur – National Committee Member, Campus Front of India

Mohammad Umar, Assistant Professor, Galgotias University

Sadath Hussain, M. Phil JNU

Salim Ansari, MPhil JNU

Muhammad Imran, Ph.D. Arabic language, and literature JNU.

Rekha Raj, Dalit Feminist

Praveena Thaali, Ph D Research Scholar, Centre for Human Rights, UOH

Magare Bhupali, Ph.D Student, Centre for African Studies, JNU

Yashasvi Gaur, M.A student, English Language and literature, Fergusson College

Kashif Mansoor, Ph.D student at Centre For Development Studies,

S Faizi Kerala

Preethi Krishnan, Ph.D. Candidate, Purdue University

Nalini Taneja, Associate professor, SOL, Delhi university (retd.)

Sarbani Bandyopadhyay, Assistant Professor, Sociology. St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata

Mohammed Abdul Mumin, Software Engineer, Hyderabad

Divya Kandukuri, MA Media and Cultural Studies, TISS

Sayantan Datta, Feminist Activist and Poet

Dibyesh Anand, Professor, University of Westminster, UK

Ria De, PhD, EFLU

OSAMA AKRAM, Degree Student, Santhapuram, Kerala

Alice Abraham, Mphil, Centre for Comparative Literature, UOH

Anwarul Hoda – Journalist

Meera Sanghamitra, National Alliance of People’s Movements

Shadab Hashmi, Assistant professor , Rajendra College,Jai Prakash University, Bihar

Tasneem Fatima, Bangalore

Ovais Sultan Khan, Social Activist, ANHAD

SAUD FIROZ AHMED, PG, ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY, SANTHAPURAM, KERALA

Adeela Maria, Patna

Anju Parvathy, teacher and researcher, Delhi

Sanober Keshwaar, lecturer and activist

Shanthi Vijayan Geetha Providence college, Kozhikode

Muttalib Mirza,Member state advisory council Jamat-e-Islami Hind Rajasthan, Social activist

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