Hadiya and Shafin Jahan
Hadiya with her husband Shafin Jahan. The Kerala High Court annulled their marriage in May 2017Twitter

The father of 25-year-old Hadiya — who was born as Akhila Asokan — in an exclusive interview to Rediff has appeared even more determined to get back his daughter as Akhila.

The ex-Armyman now regrets sending Akhila to college in Salem. "I should have never sent her there, it was a mistake. When I look back, I feel that was one of the worst decisions we took in our life," he said.

He said they kept no secrets between them. "I do not know how these people brainwash young minds. I just couldn't believe when my daughter who was so attached to me said she didn't want to stay with us," he explained, referred to Shafin Jahan and his alleged connections with the Islamic State (IS) group.

The NIA has been probing into this matter since August this year. The Supreme Court meanwhile handed over Hadiya's responsibility to the Salem college dean on November 27.

Asokan further said he or any of his eight siblings never received the kind of education he was providing for Hadiya. He said Akhila was an average student, but that was never a concern.

He said: "In Plus 2, she didn't fare that well. When all her friends got admission in good institutions, she was sad and was crying all the time which I couldn't bear to see." He added: "Money was never a matter to me when it came to my daughter."

Asokan then said: "Akhila's uncle told me she could study homoeopathy in Salem. We went there and paid quite a lot of money to get her admitted to the college."

Asokan kmmmm
Akhila/ Hadiya's father Asokan KMTwitter

The conversion

"A few days after I had dropped her off at the railway station as she was going back to Salem in December 2016, some of her friends called me and informed me that she had converted to Islam and had not come to college for many days," Asokan said.

"After we reached Perunthalmanna, I filed an FIR at the police station there against Abubacker, the father of the two girls who stayed with her in the rented house. I know the girls and the man were behind my daughter converting to Islam," he said.

Both Asokan and his wife were greatly affected when Hadiya said she wanted to study Islam and didn't want to return to them.

The ISIS angle

The numerous incidents of Indian youth joining ISIS in Syria had Asokan worried about Hadiya.

He asked her whether she too was planning to go to Syria and Hadiya had replied: "Achha (Father), I am also planning to go to Syria to rear goats. But my friend asked me not to go now. She asked me to finish house surgeoncy and then go to Syria."

To his relief, when he presented Hadiya's recorded statements in the Kerala High Court on December 19, the court placed her in protective custody of her parents in Kottayam.

On Shafin Jahan

He recalled that Shafin Jahan suddenly appeared on December 21, 2016, after the court ruling and claimed to be Hadiya's husband.

Asokan said the "true" side of the alleged love jihad angle and the apparent vested interests of some secularists were not been reported on.

"You hear the voices of only those who are behind the whole incident. What you saw till now was a trial by the media and some so-called activists," he said.

Hadiya in Salem
Hadiya was brought to Sivaraj Homeopathy Medical College in Tamil Nadu's Salem under tight security on Tuesday, Novemeber 28Twitter

Asokan continues to accuse Jahan of having terrorist links. He hailed the Supreme Court verdict in the case and said: "I am happy with the verdict because I don't want a terrorist in my house. I am a man who served the Indian Army and the country."

He said he was looking forward to a favourable ruling from the apex court: "I don't want any more Akhilas to become Hadiyas!"