PETALING JAYA: An interfaith body and a women’s NGO have urged the police to return M Indira Gandhi’s youngest child to her, following a Federal Court decision to set aside the unilateral conversion of her three children to Islam.
Indira’s daughter Prasana Diksa, who turns 10 this year, remains missing after she was taken away by Indira’s ex-husband, Muslim convert Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, in 2009.
Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) president RS Mohan Shan, who applauded the court’s decision, said police must take action.
“They must return the child to the mother. A precedent has been set,” he told FMT.
The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) also urged police to act on cases similar to Indira’s, such as that of S Deepa, another Hindu mother who was involved in an interfaith custody battle with her Muslim convert ex-husband.
In a statement, WAO executive director Sumitra Visvanathan said unilateral conversion was a grave violation of women’s rights and had led to more grievous violations, including child abduction.
“No one should ever have to experience the injustice that Indira went through.”
She also said that today’s landmark decision was a huge victory for all Malaysians as it affirmed that both parents have equal right to decide on their child’s religion.
“Today’s verdict is a testament to the tenacity and courage of Indira Gandhi, S Deepa, Subashini Rajasingam, Shamala Sathiyaseelan, their lawyers, and women’s groups who have fought against unilateral conversion since 2004.”
Earlier today, Indira urged the inspector-general of police to act on the court’s order to locate her ex-husband following the Federal Court’s decision, saying Mohamad Fuzi Harun no longer had any excuse not to take action.
In 2016, then inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar claimed there were contradicting orders from the Shariah Court and civil courts on the matter.
He said this was why he had refused to carry out the High Court’s order to arrest Riduan.