The mentor who persuaded Hindu girls to embrace Islam is a woman associated with the radical group Popular Front of India. Athira was supposedly lured by Akhila’s “mentor” Sainaba into embracing Islam with the help of activists linked to Islamic outfits.
NIA’s preliminary probe into a “love jihad” case on the instructions of the Supreme Court has revealed a common link with another such instance where the “mentor” who persuaded Hindu girls to embrace Islam is a woman associated with the radical group Popular Front of India (PFI).
The NIA report, based on an probe by Kerala Police in Akhila Asokan alias Hadiya case as well as its own preliminary inquiry into the “forced conversion” of one Athira Nambiar from Palakkad, had led the SC to ask the agency to probe the alleged conversion and marriage of Hindu girls in Kerala through allurement and radicalisation.
NIA has cited common accused in the two cases. Athira was supposedly lured by Akhila’s “mentor” Sainaba into embracing Islam with the help of activists linked to Islamic outfits PFI, SDPI and Markazul Hidaya ‘Sathyasarani’. Some of Sainaba’s associates figure in both cases.
The SC direction comes after it was moved following the Kerala HC’s annulling of Akhila’s marriage to Shafin Jahan. It was alleged that PFI activists took advantage of emotionally vulnerable girls who were at odds with their families and convinced them to convert to Islam.
Though Akhila sent four separate letters to her father and senior Kerala Police officers in January 2016 claiming she had converted of her own free will, her name was spelt differently in them. NIA said this indicated that the letters were merely signed and not written by her. This was also the case withAthira.
PFI vehemently denies any forced conversion, citing Akhila’s statement that she had embraced Islam out of her own free will. “Akhila was drawn to Islam after watching her college friends. Sainaba only helped her realise her wish to pursue Islam,” PFI public relations secretary Shafiq Rehmantold TOI.
NIA has said that Sainaba, with whom Akhila stayed before her marriage was arranged with Shafin, is the president of National Women’s Front, PFI’s women’s wing. With the support of Sathyasarani office-bearers, Sainaba and her husband Aliyar had arranged Akhila’s marriage without informing the girl’s parents or the Kerala HC, who had entrusted her with Akhila’s custody at the time.
Another link between the two cases is Mohammad Kutty, a PFI-SDPI activist who had approached Akhila’s friend’s father Aboobacker, along with Sainaba and Aliyar, to take Akhila away from her family for pursuing Islamic studies. Kutty and Sainaba are co-conspirators in the Athira case.
He was also arrested for illegally confining Athira.
The NIA report is said to have mentioned four criminal cases against Shafin, as well as his association with SDPI. He was also in touch with Manseed Muhammad, a chargesheeted accused in Islamic State’s Omar Al-Hindi module case probed by NIA.
Though Akhila and Shafin claim they had met through waytonikah.com, the probe found that neither had visited each other’s profile until after their marriage.
Shafin’s marriage proposal came through Muneer, another SDPI activist.
The NIA is understood to have informed the SC that Akhila’s “conversion” and marriage were not isolated incidents but part of an organised effort by Kerala-based PFI, SDPI andSathyasarani.
As per the NIA report, Kozhikode-based Therbiyatul Islam Sabha (TIS), recognised by the Kerala government, had issued a “conversion certificate” to Akhila in 2016 stating she had successfully completed its Islamic course on July 25, 2016. However, it was found that she never studied at TIS, but only took the exam held after the course.
It was also revealed that persons involved in sheltering Akhila in January 2016 — Sainaba, Muhammad Basheer, Muhammed Kutty, Nasarudeen — are all connected with Sathyasarani and PFI-SDPI.
NIA found that Sainaba, with 11 others linked to PFI, SDPI and Sathyasarani, had hatched a conspiracy from May 2016 to lure Athira. She was persuaded by Sainaba to convert to Islam and advised to marry a Muslim so the court proceedings would not be a problem.
Just like Akhila, who was shifted by Sainaba to different locations in January 2016 to keep her whereabouts a secret, Athira too was confined at various locations.