The National Investigation Agency has concluded its investigation in inter-faith marriages in Kerala because they have not found any evidence of intimidation involved in the marriage of Hadiya and Shafin Jahan. Now there is no reason for prosecution of these cases, said officials familiar with the matter, HT reported. They said that while there could be involvement of people facilitating the conversion of either the man or the woman, there are no sign of criminal activities.

“The NIA is not supposed to file any further report in this regard in the Supreme Court. As far as the NIA is concerned, the matter stands closed as the agency has not found any evidence to suggest that in any of these cases either the man or the woman was coerced to convert,” said a senior agency official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Supreme Court had directed NIA to probe cases of inter-faith marriages to understand if they could also be cases of “Love Jihad” after which NIA chose 11 such cases. NIA chose these cases from a list of 89 cases of inter-faith marriages in Kerala, registered with the law enforcement authorities because of an FIR filed, usually by parents. The police had referred these cases to federal anti-terrorism agency.

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Hadiya’s case came into limelight after her parents allegedly kidnapped her and kept her in exile. Hadiya was a Hindu Brahmin – Akhila Asokan – before her marriage. She married Shafin Jahan and converted to Islam after which she named herself Hadiya. Her parents in anguish filed a case with the Kerala High Court calling her marriage as a case of Love Jihad. Kerala HC then annulled their marriage which the Supreme Court reinstated recently.

Conversion is not a crime in Kerala and helping these men and women convert is also within the ambit of the Constitution of the country.

“At least one among the 11 marriages under examination was purely a matter of relationship gone sour. In most of the other cases we found that a similar set of people and organisations associated with Popular Front of India (PFI) were involved in helping either the man or the woman involved in a relationship to convert to Islam, but we didn’t find any prosecutable evidence to bring formal charges against these persons under any of the scheduled offences of the NIA, like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,” added the official.

“Conversion is not a crime in Kerala and helping these men and women convert is also within the ambit of the Constitution of the country,” they added.

PFI’s legal advisor KP Muhammer Shareef reflected on love jihad and said that it is a “sinister design”  by right-wing forces” to “target the Muslim community at large”. He claimed the effort was to portray the Front and (its political arm), the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), as conduit pipes for Love Jihad.

“Umpteen investigations and enquiries conducted by various agencies have now found the allegation of love jihad is obnoxious, fictitious and without any scintilla of evidence,” said Shareef.

“There are separate criminal cases of serious charges of murder going on against the alleged cadres of PFI. We are dealing with those matters separately,” said NIA official.

Of the 11 cases chosen by NIA, four Hindu men converted to Muslim and in the rest of the cases, Hindu women married Muslim men.

“The NIA probe found that in at least three cases, efforts at conversion failed,” said a second anonymous NIA official.

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