The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered an NIA investigation into conversion of a Hindu girl to Islam and her subsequent marriage to a Muslim man in Kerala after the central agency hinted that those involved in these conversions and marriages had links with SIMI, a banned organisation.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, who submitted the NIA’s preliminary report to the top court, said it did not appear to be an isolated case and required further investigation.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar — which said the NIA probe would be monitored by retired Supreme Court judge RV Raveendran — referred to the ‘Blue Whale’ Challenge, an online game that has driven many teens to commit suicide.
“Like in the ‘Blue Whale’ game, nowadays you can persuade people to do anything,” the Bench, which also included Justice DY Chandrachud, said.
The top court is seized of a petition filed by Shafin Jahan (27) whose marriage to Akhila alias Hadiya was annulled by the Kerala High Court, which handed over her custody to her father. The High Court’s order had come on a petition filed by the girl’s father KM Ashokan who alleged that it was a fraudulent conversion.
Shafin has challenged the high court’s order before the top court. Akhila had converted to Islam and then married Shafin. When the Bench on August 10 asked the Kerala Police Crime Branch to hand over the case files to NIA for a preliminary assessment, Shafin opposed it, leaving the court to wonder why he was so opposed to the agency examining the case.
On Wednesday, as the ASG said it did not appear to be an isolated case, the CJI noted, “the (Kerala) High Court order also mentions so”.
Referring to the NIA report, the ASG said: “Role of one woman is under investigation. Prima facie it has been found that entities are common in these cases. This is the second case. There is a pattern. The girls first get converted and then they refuse to stay with their family members and subsequently their marriage is done. This matter requires further investigation.”
He said: “The two outfits involved in this case perhaps were having links with SIMI.” The Kerala Government told the top court that it had no objection to the NIA probe.
‘Not isolated case, there’s a pattern’
It doesn’t appear to be an isolated case… Prima facie it has been found that entities are common in these cases. This is the second case. There is a pattern. The girls first get converted and then they refuse to stay with their family members and subsequently their marriage is done. This matter requires further investigation.