All inter-faith marriages cannot be considered to be cases of love jihad, the Kerala High Court said on Tuesday. The court was hearing a hebeas corpus petition filed by a Muslim man who had sought that his Hindu wife be allowed to stay with her.
The woman, 24-year-old Sruthi Meledath, had testified before another bench of the High Court earlier, and said that she was one among several women who had been assaulted and confined at a yoga centre in Ernakulam in order to force them to leave their inter-faith marriages.
The court on Tuesday allowed Meledath to go with her husband, Anees Hameed, The Indian Express reported.
In response to the yoga centre’s claim that the marriage was a case of love jihad, the division bench of Justice V Chitambaresh and Justice Sathish Ninan said the case need not be sensationalised. “Don’t say love jihad in every here and there,’’ the bench said.
Before Meledath’s testimony, 28-year-old Swetha Haridasan had filed the first petition against the yoga centre on September 12. She approached the Kerala High Court, claiming that she was detained for 22 days at the yoga centre and “physically and mentally harassed” to pressure her to abandon her Christian husband. Her statement prompted the court to ask whether the centre was Kerala’s Dera Sacha Sauda – the Haryana-based sect whose leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted of rape in August and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Corrections and clarifications: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that the High Court’s observations were made during the hearing of a petition against a yoga centre and not the Hadiya case.