Another victim of Sangh Parivar’s conversion/torture camps has come out in the media exposing the brutal practices at different RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) centres in Kerala. The Hindu fundamentalist Sangh Parivar’s pockets where women are tortured and harassed for loving Muslim men have now been exposed with this incident. Members of Sangh Parivar (the broad family of Hindu fundamentalist parties) including Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Centre ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) actively support these centres. In Kerala, however, a strange situation has arisen where the State ruling Left government under Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI(M)) is shielding the RSSÂ activists engaging in this crime.
It has now come to light that Anjali Prakash, a young woman from Thrissur, Kerala was kept under house arrest and tortured by BJP for being romantically involved with a Muslim man. The matter came to light when the woman made a second appeal to Kerala DGP to rescue her from the BJP centre in Mangalapuram (Mangalore) where she was kept captive.
Earlier, she had sent multiple complaints to the DGP, Office of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the local MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) but no help was offered. With the most recent complaint, the DGP alerted Karnataka police. The BJP centre where the woman was kept captive was located based on the cell phone tower location and Anjali was rescued.
Acting upon Anjali’s complaint, her mother was arrested and later let off on bail. Anjali refused to go with her mother and was allotted accomodation in Mahila Mandiram, Mangalapuram. Kerala High Court released the mother saying a mentally ill woman’s complaint against her mother cannot be reason for arrest. Manaas NM, her boyfriend told TWJ that the arrest was made after the police listened to the torture Anjali was subjected to at the hands of her mother, Hindu fundamentalists and other relatives.
Torture at own House
The complaint that was given to the Office of the Chief Minister by Anjali traced the torture and harassment that she has been facing to her own house.
Anjali said that Manaas was close to their family and was a regular visitor at her place. After Anjali’s father’s death when she was in class 10, Manaas and his family helped her and her family in a lot of ways. This was when they got close, she said in the letter.
Later, when they decided to get married, Anjali applied for a leave of two months from her job as a teacher in a college nearby. Her mother, who came to know of this, then took her certificates and other documents and asked her brothers to intervene in the matter of her relationship with Manaas. Her uncles by the names Narothaman and Venugopal then tortured her physically, dragging her on the ground, gagging her with cloth and inflicting wounds on her body with a knife.
Forced Confinement in Hospitals
Anjali was then forcibly taken to a hospital by the name Unity, in Kunnamkulam. After Manaas visited her there, her mother and uncles took her to Aswini hospital in Thrissur. She contacted Manaas from this hospital as well. When her relatives came to know of this, they again shifted her to Amrita hospital in Ernakulam, this time with the help of VHP activists. Amrita hospital is owned by Hindu human godÂ Sudhamani Idamannel who is known to her followers as Mata Amritanandamayi Devi.
Anjali was kept in the hospital for 45 days by her mother and uncles, with the help of the VHP activists accusing her of being mentally unwell. She was kept unconscious for two weeks. ‘I used to be given ten pills at a time,’ read Anjali’s letter which also said, ‘they would sedate me whenever I regained consciousness and started to remember things.’
Manaas filed a habeas corpus petition in High Court to produce Anjali. The family responded with a certificate from Amrita hospital that said that she was mentally unwell. This was repeated with the writ petitions he filed thereafter. Anjali was again shifted to another hospital in Kaloor, Kochi after Manaas tried to visit her at Amrita hospital. Anjali contacted Manaas from the hospital and they arranged for a meeting during a temple visit that she was going on with her family.
During this visit, when she saw Manaas in a car behind her, she tried to run and get inside it. Following this, Anjali’s mother summoned the public saying that Manaas was trying to abduct her daughter. He and his friends were beaten up by the mob and the VHP activists ensured that a case was charged against him. They were also beaten up at the police station.
Anjali was then take to a VHP centre in Pavakkulam. Four or five VHP workers then confined her in a room and said that they would kill Manaas because he is Muslim. After this, she was shifted to an RSS centre called Thanal in Mayannur. Her letter to the office of the CM was written while she was in confinement there. Later, she was shuttled between RSS centres, and was last confined in a rented house of a BJP person in Mangalore.
In a video message Anjali sent to her father’s relatives, she can be heard saying, ‘This might be my last video from here. My life is under threat. And all this for being in love with a Muslim. I was in an RSS orphanage for two and a half months. I am being beaten up here.’
Anjali had not converted to Islam and Manaas said that they had never thought of it either. ‘Isn’t love the most important thing? Isn’t that why we have been together for 8 years? We have been separated by force for two years now but she is still waiting for me and I am still waiting for her,’ he told TWJ over phone.
CPI(M) Inaction Against Forced Confinement of Women by Hindu Fundamentalists
This is the second instance in Kerala that a Hindu fundamentalist centre for torture and conversion of women is being exposed. In September 2017, a similar centre in Trippoonithura was busted and women had come out to reveal the physical, sexual and mental harassment they were subjected to at these centres.
Arsha Vidhya Samajam also known as Yoga and Charitable Trust and Shivashakti Charitable Trust, Tripunithura near Kochi was in news for running a centre for forced conversion of women into Hinduism. Most of the women had been sent there by their parents or family for marrying or being in love with a non-Hindu.
The matter came to light when Ms. Swetha Haridas, who was confined at the centre earlier made a complaint stating the physical torture and sexual harassment that she and other inmates were subjected to there. At the time, there were around 65 women who were kept at the centre owned by a person by the name Manoj who called himself a yoga instructor. In the days that followed, more victims came out with similar charges against the centre.
CPI(M) led Kerala government’s approach to the case against the yoga centre had drawn flak due to its poor performance in high court which resulted in the court allowing the yoga centre to continue functioning despite the Udayamperoor Panchayat issuing a notice for closure of the facility citing lack of permit for the functioning of the same. With the new information of the CM’s office not taking action regarding Anjali’s complaint, the approach of the left government is being severely criticised.
In the case of Hadiya, who converted to Islam from Hindu faith and later married a Muslim man, it was the Kerala government who submitted an affidavit saying that her marriage was suspicious and that her conversion was forced. On March 8, 2018, the Supreme Court of India overruled the Kerala High Court verdict that annulled the couple’s marriage stating that the the state had no right to look into the marriage of two citizens. CPI(M) government’s affidavit in the court and inaction against the RSS thugs who had colluded with Hadiya’s family to keep her under confinement had been widely condemned.
CM’s office was not available for comments.
Anjali’s case has an uncanny resemblance to the Hadiya case considering the human rights violation and violence Anjali was being subjected to under the leadership of VHP, BJP and other RSS affiliated Hindu fundamentalist centres.
Anjali’s boyfriend Manaas said that he intended to approach the Supreme Court to free her. After she was shifted to the Mahila Mandiram, Manaas has not been able to contact her. He suspects that the phone he had given her has been taken away.
Jayanti, another aunt of Anjali, told TWJ that she wanted to free her as soon as possible. She said that she did not care about anything else and could not stand Anjali being tortured. ‘I lost a daughter when she was 18. I know the pain of it,’ she said.
Jayanti and Manaas are both seeking legal help to proceed with separate cases to help Anjali.