Two days after the Supreme Court allowed Kerala woman Hadiya to continue her studies in Salem, Tamil Nadu, the 24-year-old said she was still not free. She said she wanted to get the freedom to meet her husband, Shefin Jehan.
“My demand in the court was freedom, the freedom to meet my husband, but the truth is that I am not free now. I didn’t get freedom,” she told the press outside the Sivaraj Homeopathic medical college on Wednesday. Hadiya added that even her college is not clear over her boundaries and is in the process of figuring it out. “We should give them few more days, and I will be able to tell you whether I am really free or not,” she said.
The Supreme Court on Monday passed an interim order asking that “Hadiya be taken to Salem so as to enable her to pursue her internship/housemanship” in the homeopathy college where she was studying when she married Jehan.
Hadiya had been confined to her house against her wishes. “For the past six months, I was made to stay with people whom I don’t like, they (parents) are the ones who tried to convert me. I had no TV or anything at home. There were even restrictions to talk to people. And now it has reached a point where my parents are saying that I am not mentally stable,” Hadiya said.
“What I am demanding are my basic rights, something that every citizen enjoys. It has nothing to do with politics or caste. I just want to meet someone whom I like,” she said.
Hadiya’s college principal G Kannan, whom the Supreme Court has appointed as her guardian, earlier said he would not allow anyone except her parents to visit her.
“See, I do not know who her husband is. She is still Akhila for us, and her guardians are her parents who admitted her. In the present scenario, I will not allow anyone except her parents. We will make sure that I or an official are present when her parents visit her,” Kannan said.
Hadiya, however, said she would be allowed to meet her husband, adding that the police had promised that.
“I don’t have a phone, I haven’t contacted anyone so far, even though what I demanded in the court was basic freedom,” Hadiya said before the press.
Kannan said cellphones were restricted in the campus and, owing to the sensitive nature of Hadiya’s case, they were “considering banning cellphones for all students in hostel.” “Since they are here to study, a phone with the warden is more than enough,” he had said.
Born a Hindu, Akhila alias Hadiya had converted to Islam while doing her BHMS course and married Jehan, a Muslim man. Their marriage was annulled by the Kerala High Court in May this year which called it a sham and of no consequence in the eyes of the law.
Jehan then moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order. But a two-judge bench, headed by the then CJI Justice J S Khehar, ordered an NIA investigation and said it would also examine the contention raised by her father Asokan that her conversion to Islam was done fraudulently. The apex court is yet to pronounce on the plea by Jehan, questioning the Kerala High Court’s authority to annul his marriage to Hadiya.