NCW equates forced religious conversion with human trafficking

NCW equates forced religious conversion with human trafficking

National Commission for Women (NCW) acting chairperson Rekha Sharma has equated forced religious conversions in Kerala with human-trafficking and sought a probe on funds received by institutions engaged in such activities.

The Kerala Women's Commission has denied allegations of forced conversions in the state.

The NCW chief is on a three-day visit to Kerala to probe allegations of forced religious conversion, against the backdrop of the 'love jihad' case involving 25-year-old Hadiya. "This is a serious concern, this is a way of human-trafficking. Our girls are being used by terrorist forces," Sharma said after meeting state police chief Loknath Behera.

She said some of the women who converted and relocated outside the country were being used as "human bombs".

On Monday, after visiting Hadiya at her home in in Kottayam, Sharma had said the commission was only concerned with forced conversions and refused to narrow the issue down to 'love jihad'. She reiterated that marriages were individual choices and the commission was looking beyond them.

In May this year, the Kerala High Court annulled the marriage of Hadiya (Akhila, before she converted to Islam) with a Muslim man, Shafin Jahan, and left her in the custody of her parents. Her father K M Ashokan has contended that her conversion and marriage were part of a plan to shift her out of India. Hadiya is set to appear before the Supreme Court for a hearing on November 27.

Sharma has called for a probe into the functioning of institutions that organise religious conversions and their funding. She submitted 11 petitions to the DGP in connection with forced religious conversion.  

Earlier in the day, Bindu Sampath, mother of a woman from Thiruvananthapuram who allegedly joined Islamic State after converting to Islam, met Sharma. Her daughter, Nimisha, was identified as one of the Keralites who went missing in mid-2016 to join the terror outfit. She had converted to Islam and married Isa, an IS recruit from Palakkad. Bindu said the ongoing investigation had failed in tracking her daughter.

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