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Kerala Love Jihad: Ashokan says he’s not anti-Muslim

Akhila and Ashokan (right)

Ashokan Mani, who has accused the Popular Front of India of trying to kidnap his daughter into Syria, today said he had no problems with his daughter converting to Islam or marrying a Muslim.

Ashokan, who has been asked by the Supreme Court to produce the girl Fadiya by Nov 27, said his problem was related only to her safety.

“Here, the problem is not that she has become a Muslim, or that she is getting married to a Muslim, but that the organization (Popular Front of India) is trying to get her married to someone with terror links,” he said.

“Would you let your daughter get married to someone with terror links?” he asked. “I am a former Jawan and whatever the courts decide will be final for me.”

Ashokan repeated the accusation made by his lawyer in the Supreme Court that Shafin Jehan, the PFI activist with whom Fadiya was arranged to get married, was in touch with a Kerala-based ISIS recruiter on Facebook and WhatsApp.

He has maintained that there exists a racket in Kerala that locates vulnerable non-Muslim girls, converts them into hardcore Muslims and ships them off to fight Jihad in the Middle East.

RISING CONCERN

Ashokan belongs to the Ezhava community that forms the backbone of support for Left parties in Kerala.

The community has seen the highest number of so-called Love Jihad marriages, in which women get converted to Islam and marry Muslim men in far higher numbers than vice versa.

Not surprisingly, the most vocal protests against the phenomenon has also so far come the Ezhava community, starting with Left politician VS Achyuthanandan.

As the chief minister of the state in 2010, Achyuthanandan had accused Popular Front of India of trying to ‘completely Islamize Kerala’ in 20 years using ‘money and marriage’.

More recently, former head of Kerala Police TP Senkumar — also from the Ezhava community — expressed alarm at what he called the imbalance between the number of Muslims converting to other religions as part of interfaith marriages in the state and vice versa.

“If these conversion-marriages were happening purely on the basis of love, then we would find that the number of such conversions was the same for all communities, but that’s not the case. The numbers are lopsided,” he said four months ago.

RETHINKING LEFT

For Ashokan, the personal tragedy has been a wake up call of sorts. He said he felt betrayed by the Left movement that he supported when it came to fighting for his daughter.

Asked about members of Sangh Parivar outfits visiting him, Ashokan has maintained that he will take any help that is offered to protect his daughter.

In contrast, Left parties have been silent on the whole controversy, careful not to ruffle the feathers of Muslim voters.

Ashokan said he was also disappointed by the stand taken by Left Front-controlled state government in the Supreme Court this week.

The government said there was no need for an investigation into the case by the National Investigation Agency as all the actors are in Kerala and the case did not require interstate investigation.

Ashokan maintained his daughter has been subjected to ‘psychological kidnapping’ and brainwashing.

He said earlier, if he got a cold, she was the one who would suffer more. “Now, when she see me, it’s like she has seen the devil himself.”

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