Amnesty hails SC ruling on Hadiya marriage

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New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Amnesty International on Thursday hailed the Supreme Court decision to restore the marriage of Hadiya Jahan to a Muslim man, describing it as “a fitting recognition” of women’s rights on International Women’s Day.

Hadiya, formerly a Hindu, embraced Islam and married Shafin Jahan. The marriage was annulled by the Kerala High Court.

Amnesty International India’s Programmes Director Asmita Basu said in a statement: “The Supreme Court’s order restoring Hadiya’s marriage is a fitting recognition – on International Women’s Day – of the right of every adult woman to choose her religion and partner. This decision was long overdue, and it is a victory for Hadiya Jahan’s courage and perseverance.

“By setting aside the Kerala High Court’s decision that described the marriage as a ‘sham’, the order also marks an important course correction.

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“It must now spur state governments into doing more to bring to justice people who harass and attack Hindu-Muslim couples.”

Hadiya Jahan, 24, who was born Akhila Ashokan, converted to Islam from Hinduism and married Shafin Jahan, a Muslim man, in December 2016.

Following this, her father approached the Kerala High Court, alleging that she had been forcibly converted. The High Court annulled the marriage in May 2017 and ordered her to be sent back to her parents’ home.

In August, the Supreme Court ordered a probe by the National Investigation Agency into Hadiya Jahan’s conversion and marriage but subsequently raised questions about the High Court order annulling the marriage.

–IANS

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