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 Rahul Easwar's selfie with Dr Hadiya
Rahul Easwar’s selfie with Dr Hadiya

Text of letter to The Chairperson, Kerala State Women’s Commission:

Sub: The virtual house arrest of Dr Hadiya at the residence of Sri Asokan.

Dear Madam

We, the undersigned, a group concerned about the protection of citizens’ rights in India, wish to bring to your notice what may be potentially a serious violation of such rights, in the case of Dr Hadiya, daughter of Sri Asokan and Smt Ponnamma, a twenty-four-year-old woman, who is presently staying at her father’s residence at TV Puram, Kottayam. The case has received much attention in both the local and national press, and so we will not recount the details. We however wish to express our anxiety at several reports that indicate quite convincingly that her rights as a woman and citizen are being grossly violated in Mr Asokan’s house, and police protection provided is working in effect as a system of incarceration. Visitors to the house who sought to meet Hadiya have been turned away roughly, cases of trespassing have been slapped on them, and Dr Hadiya herself is apparently prohibited from meeting and talking with anyone. In the few instances in which visitors, such as the TV personality Rahul Easwar, have managed to see/reach her, she has expressed extreme distress and agony.

Indeed, Dr Hadiya was virtually dragged out of her hostel and forcefully conveyed to her parents’ home by the police after the High Court annulled her marriage of her choice. This was broadcast on popular channels on 26 May 2017. When six women sought to visit her with onam gifts on August 30, 2017, he refused to allow them in, and Smt Ponnamma abused them verbally. These women have persistently claimed that they saw Dr Hadiya stand near the window and heard her call for help, and that she complained of being beaten. Though these visitors did not enter the premises and were on their way back, they were slapped with charges of unlawful assembly and criminal trespass at the behest of Mr Asokan.

On 27 August 2017, Dr Hadiya sent a message to her chosen partner Shafin entreating him to help her. The message was sent from her mother’s phone, and it appears that her access to it was temporary.

In the light of these incidents, especially the extreme responses of Mr Asokan to attempts by concerned members of the public to contact Dr Hadiya, we feel that the case calls for an inquiry by the State Women’s Commission to ascertain whether she is being held there against her will and in violation of her rights to free interaction and mobility. Police protection by itself does not require such violation of the protected person’s rights. The NIA’s inquiry too is no reason for forcible confinement and denial of the company of visitors and friends. There is ample reason to think that Hadiya’s stay at the TV Puram residence is in violation of her rights. From the accounts of those who tried to meet her and were dismissed roughly by local people who seem deeply influenced by Hindu radicalism, her family members, and the police, there is also effort to portray her as ‘mentally imbalanced’.

We, as concerned citizens, urge you to visit the home where she presently resides to meet her and clear the anxiety that we feel about her rights and personal well-being.
1. Mangai, Theatre person, Tamilnadu
2. Janaki Nair, JNU
3. Mini Krishnan, OUP
4. Arunava Sinha, Literary translator
5. Nalini Rajan, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.
6. J Devika, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram
7. Bindu KC, Ambedkar University
8. Meera Velayudhan, Independent Scholar
9. R Srivastan, Literary Translator
10. Samita Sen, Jadavpur University
11. V J Varghese, Hyderabad Central University
12. Ravi Sundaram
13. Geeta Seshu, journalist, Mumbai
14. Oishik Sircar
15. Bindu Menon, Lady Sriram College, DU
16. Pradip Datta
17. Sohail Hashmi, writer, film maker
18. Dr Kausar Wizarat
19. Sania Hashmi documentary film maker
20. Moggallan Bharti, Lecturer
21. Sarah Hashmi, actor
22. T P Rajeevan, poet
23. M Parthasarthi, EFL, Hyderabad University
24. Mrityunjoy Mohanty
25. Padmini Swaminathan, Visiting Professor, Council for Social Development
26. Anandhi S, MIDS, Chennai
27. Aditya Nigam, CSDS, Delhi
28. Rekha Raj, Amnesty International
29. Anitha Thampi, poet
30. G Arunima, JNU
31. Veena Naregal, IEG, New Delhi
32. C.P.Geevan, Independent Researcher, Ahmedabad
33. R Nagaraj
34. Shibi Peter, Centre for Social Studies and Culture
35. Savithri Rajeevan, poet
36. Yasser Arafath, DU
37. Farah Naqvi, Delhi
38. Ritu Dewan
39. Anil Tharayath, New Delhi
40. M Madhava Prasad
41. A Suneetha, Anveshi, Hyderabad
42. Sukumar Muralidharan, Jindal University
43. Sunanda Sen, JNU
44. Bijoya Ray, New Delhi
45. Dileep Raj, MGU
46. Akeel Bilgrami, Columbia University
47. E V Ramakrishnan, Central University of Gujarat
48. Anitha Sharma, Tree Walk, Thiruvananthapuram
49. M T Ansari, Hyderabad Central University
50. Prabhu Prasad Mahapatra, Dept of History, DU
51. Monobina Gupta, Journalist, New Delhi
52. Laxmi Murthy, Journalist, Bangalore
53. Ritty Lukose, New York University
54. Uma V Chandru, Bangalore
55. BRP Bhaskar, Journalist and Human Rights Activist
56. K R Meera, Literary author
57. Roby Rajan, University of Wisconsin
58. Sumit Sarkar, DU
59. Tanika Sarkar, JNU
60. Jai Sen, CACIM.
61. Mary E John, CWDS
62. Tejaswini Niranjana, Independent researcher, Bangalore
63. Udayakumar, JNU
64. Anand Teltumbde, professor,journalist and activist
65. Uma Chakravarti, historian
66. Rana Behal, DU
67. Kavita Krishnan, Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association
68. Rohit Azad, JNU
69. Vijaya Baskar, MIDS
70. Ashish Nandy
71. Jasodhara, coordinator, SAHAYOG
72. Suchithra M, journalist, Kochi
73. Binitha V Thampi, IIT Madras
74. Urvashi Butalia, editor, Zubaan
75. Rita Kothari. IIT, Gandhinagar
76. Rajni Palriwala, DU
77. Satish Deshpande, DU
78. Maitrayee Mukhopadhyay, feminist scholar
79. Malavika Karlekar, JNU
80. T K Anandi, Gender Advisor, Government of Kerala
81. Vidhu Vincent, journalist and film maker
82. Dr Rohini Hensman, writer and independent scholar, Bombay
83. Brinelle D’Souza, TISS, Mumbai
84. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala
85. Meena T Pillai, Kerala University
86. Susie Tharu
87. Ashish Kothari, Pune

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