Friday, November 8, 2013

Mother and child reunion possible after court order in Islam conversion case

Mother and child reunion possible after court order in Islam conversion case

BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
Malaysian Insider
November 08, 2013
M. Indira Gandhi (centre) will soon be reunited with her daughter following a court order compelling the father to bring the daughter to court on November 22. - The Malaysian Insider pic, November 8, 2013.M. Indira Gandhi (centre) will soon be reunited with her daughter following a court order compelling the father to bring the daughter to court on November 22. - The Malaysian Insider pic, November 8, 2013.A kindergarten teacher who has been separated from her youngest daughter for four years over a Muslim conversion case will get to see her soon following a court order compelling the father to bring the girl to court on November 22.

The Ipoh High Court ordered Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, the estranged husband of kindergarten teacher,  M. Indira Gandhi, to be present in court together with Prasana Diksa, if it  wanted his application to stay the conversion of the couple's three children to Islam to be heard.

Judicial Commissioner Lee Swee Seng will hear the application on November 22.

"I am hoping to meet my daughter who was separated from me when she was a toddler," Indira  told the Malaysian Insider.

However she is unsure how the daughter will react  if the meeting took place as she was only 11-month old when separated.

"But I just want to cuddle , touch and feel her," she said with a tinge of sadness.

Muhammad Riduan and the Perak religious authorities is seeking a court order to temporarily suspend a High Court ruling which in August quashed the certificate of conversion of the children by the religious authorites.

This means Muhammad Riduan, along with the director of the state Islamic Religious Department and the Registrar of Converts, want the children to remain as Muslims until the Court of Appeal hears and decides on their appeal against the High Court ruling.

The hearing date for the appeal has not been fixed.

Indira had two weeks ago obtained a court order to cite Muhammad Riduan for contempt for refusing to hand over Prasana Diksa despite she winning custody of the three children in 2011.

The other two children are Tevi Darsiny, 16, Karan Dinish, 15 who are currently living with the mother in Ipoh.

"We are  hoping the father will bring along the daughter to meet the mother," said lawyer M.Kula Segaran who one of the counsel representing Indira Gandhi.

Her lawyers had earlier wanted to block Muhammad Riduan's stay application but was prepared to make concession provided he brough the child along.

A Federal Court ruling has held  that persons in contempt of court would not be heard unless the contempt was purged.

Lawyer Hatim Musa during the previous proceedings has informed the court that he would relay the information to Muhammad Riduan.

Lee had in July this year set aside the conversion of the three children which was done without Indira's knowledge.

He said the conversion was unconstitutional because it was done in the absence of the mother and the children. Furthermore, the judge said, the Perak Syariah law states that children must be present to utter the Islamic declaration of faith.

The judge also ruled that the conversion was against the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Indira married Muhammad Riduan, then known as K. Patmanathan, 20 years ago according to Hindu rites.

On March 11, 2009, he converted to Islam. The following month, he converted their children to Islam without her knowledge.

The Syariah Court had then granted him custody of his children.

The couple separated and the husband took Prasana Diksa with him.

Indira lodged a police report, hoping that the authorities would help locate her daughter, but to no avail. - November 8, 2013.

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