Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Six years lost but mother keeps on battling

1:28PM Apr 22, 2015

By Hafiz Yatim

Six years lost but mother keeps on battling

As Prasana Diksa celebrated her birthday on April 8, her mother M Indira Gandhi longed to see her child who was snatched away from her six years ago while still on mother's milk by her former husband K Pathmanathan @ Ridhuan Abdullah.

Such is the fate of Indira Gandhi who never saw her child develop in her young formative years.

Hence, the kindergarten teacher now hopes the Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar will abide by the recovery order issued by the Ipoh High Court for her to see her daughter.

In an unanimous decision today, the Federal Court gave Indira permission to hear a question of law posed by her to the Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar and the police.

The court also dismissed Pathmanathan @ Ridhuan Abdullah's leave application on his right to be heard because he has ‎yet to purge his contempt for not returning their daughter Prasana Diksa to Indira since 2009.

Indira (pix, right) and Pathmanathan@Riduan are embroiled in an interfaith child custody tussle which began in 2009 when the father converted to Islam before spiriting the child   away and converting her to Islam too without the mother's consent.

The case has travelled through both the courts and and the government system sparked by an Ipoh High Court decision in 2010 granting custody of Prasana to her mother.

After the child was not surrendered to her mother, the same court last year granted  Indira an order of mandamus (to compel) for the IGP and the police to recover the child.

The police, however, say they cannot act as a separate custody order was granted by the Ipoh Syariah Court to Ridhuan. The apex court today allowed Indira to question the police as to the legality of their stand.

Police refuse to act

"I only managed to send a text message to my daughter through my former husband's handphone to wish her a happy birthday.

"The number is still operational and I believe he (Ridhuan) is still in the country and has my daughter.  There was however, no reply to my message. I still harbour hopes of meeting her again," said the mother of three. Her other two children are staying with her.

Indira's lawyer M Kulasegaran (extreme left, pix below) said when the Ipoh High Court agreed to issue the recovery order last year, he tried to serve it on the IGP.

“I waited for hours at Bukit Aman to meet the IGP last year but he refused to see me. I tried to serve a similar order on the Ipoh OCPD, but again, as with the IGP, he refused to see me.

“We are the only country in the Commonwealth where the IGP and the police do not want to receive a court order,” he said.

Kulasegaran who is also Ipoh Barat MP, said he understands the police could be in a bind following the two court orders and jurisdiction.

However, he said this can be ventilated or argued out in court.

He further questioned the Attorney-General's Chambers in advising the police not to receive such court orders.

The federal lawmaker said he will bring the issue up in Parliament.

Unilateral religious conversion of a child has been a bone of contention in multi-racial and multi-religion Malaysia and following Indira's case in 2009, the cabinet ruled against allowing unilateral conversion.
However, this has not been reflected by the appropriate changes in the law.

Kulasegaran had previously questioned whether Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was committed towards implementing the Cabinet decision on the matter.

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