A division bench gave the directive on a habeas corpus petition filed by Anees Hameed of Kannur after his lover, Sruthi, went missing. She later told the court that her parents had taken her to Siva Sakthi Yogavidya Kendram at Udayamperoor, where she was detained against her wish and mentally and physically tortured to abandon her lover. The court set Sruthi and Anees free to decide on their choice of religion without interference from her parents or anybody else.
“We caution that every case of inter-religious marriage shall not be portrayed on a religious canvass and create fissures in the communal harmony otherwise existing in god’s own country-Kerala,” the judgment said.
Sruthi, who got married to Anees under provisions of the Special Marriage Act, told the court that she would remain a Hindu and Anees, a Muslim. The court said it was appalled to notice the recent trend in Kerala to sensationalise every case of inter-religious marriage as either ‘love jihad’ or ‘ghar wapsi’.
On police action, it said: “Any centre for forcible conversion or re-conversion has to be busted by police whether it be Hindu, Muslim or Christian lest it offends the constitutional right. Article 25 (1) of the Constitution of India guarantees every citizen the right to freely profess, practise and propagate any religion, which cannot be trampled upon by subversive forces or religious outfits.”
A former instructor at the yoga centre had submitted in the court— in a habeas corpus case involving another detainee, Dr Shweta of Thrissur— that the detained women were brought to the centre through a VHP-run organisation called Hindu Helpline. Christian Helpline, an organisation formed to “save” Christian women falling for “love jihad“, and Athira of Palakkad who allegedly converted to Islam and then reconverted to Hinduism at the yoga centre had sought to join the case.
However, the court did not allow their pleas, saying these “strangers” could depose before police if needed.
Source : timesofindia