- Prime Minister Najib Razak, Malaysian Government, The Parliament
The case of Indira Gandhi and her three children highlights a disturbing incident of forced religious conversion, breakdown of the Rule of Law and disregard for the welfare of children in Malaysia.
Indira Gandhi and her ex-husband were in a civil marriage. In 2009, the ex-husband converted to Islam, converted the three children to Islam without their and Indira Gandhi’s knowledge, abducted the youngest child and obtained an order from the Syariah court granting him custody of the children. Authorities of the Perak State Government registered the conversion of the children despite them not being present to utter the Muslim profession of faith. At the time of registration, the children, Tevi Darsiny, Karan Dinish and Prasana Diksa, were 12 years, 11 years and 11 months old respectively.
Indira Gandhi then sought assistance from the High Court. She applied for custody of her children, and for the conversion certificates to be quashed. The High Court quashed the certificates; confirming that the children were not Muslims.
The High Court also granted Indira custody of the children and ordered that Prasana Diksa be returned to her immediately. Her ex-husband refused to comply. She then successfully obtained a warrant of arrest against him for being in contempt of court and a recovery order under the Child Act 2001 directing the police to recover her daughter. The High Court found the ex-husband’s Syariah court order to be of no legal effect as it affected a Hindu mother and her children from a civil marriage.
The Inspector General of Police refused to execute the warrant of arrest and the recovery order on the ground that there is a Syariah court order; an order already found to be without legal effect by the High Court. She then sought a mandatory order against the IGP, compelling him to execute the warrant and the recovery order. This was allowed by the High Court but set aside by a majority of the Court of Appeal. A decision by the Federal Court is pending. The ex-husband remains free and in contempt of court.
In December 2015, the Perak State Government, the Federal Government and the ex-husband’s appeal against the High Court’s quashing of the conversion certificates was allowed by a majority of the Court of Appeal. The primary ground of the Court of Appeal being that the issue of Muslim conversion can only be decided by the Syariah court; a religious court which Indira Gandhi cannot even appear in.
Her application for leave to appeal to the Federal Court is fixed on 19th May 2016.
After 7 years of legal battles and similarly harrowing experiences suffered by Shamala Sathiyaseelan, Subashini Rajasingam, Deepa Subramaniam and their children, there does not seem to be any tangible effort by those in Government to put in place a policy or law that prohibits forced conversion of children of civil marriages. Such forced and unilateral conversions breaks down families, affects Malaysia’s religious harmony and imposes excessive trauma in the lives of the affected children.
In the spirit of justice, religious freedom and respect for the dignity of children, kindly sign this petition in support of Indira Gandhi’s pursuit of her rights under the law, and to call for those in Government to implement the relevant law or policy to PREVENT FORCED and UNILATERAL CONVERSIONS.
The Indira Gandhi Campaign for Justice petition to Prime Minister Najib Razak, Malaysian Government, The Parliament was written by Indira Gandhi Campaign For Justice and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.