The Kerala High Court on Thursday ordered the closure of all centres in the state that undertake forced religious conversion. The bench asked the police to take strong action against such centres.

The court issued the directive while considering the habeas corpus petition of Anees Hamed, who sought the custody of his wife Sruthi Meledath following their inter-religious marriage. It allowed Meledath to go with her husband, ruling that their marriage was valid, local daily Mathrubhumi reported.

Quoting United States poet Maya Angelou, the court said, “Love recognises no barriers. It jumps hurdles. Leaps fences. Penetrates its walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

The court observed that all love marriages cannot be regarded as “love jihad” or “ghar wapsi”. It added that inter-religious marriages should be encouraged to promote religious harmony.