Kerala woman escapes from love jehadi’s grip

| | Kochi

The escape of a 25-year-old Gujarat-based Kerala Hindu woman, victim of an alleged love jehad plot, to India last October from a Saudi Arabia apartment, to which she was confined by her Muslim ‘husband’ with the suspected intention of selling her to Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists in Syria as sex slave, is a story of determination and courage, according to reports.

The Hindu woman, who had embraced Islam under pressure, was taken to Jeddah last August by ‘husband’ Muhammad Riyas from Thalassery, Kannur, on three-month visit visa and with a passport in which her name was given as Ayesha. She had met Riyas and fallen in love with him 2014 in Bangalore where she was doing an animation course.

Hailing from Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, the woman had told the police that though he had no job, Riyas whom she had married allegedly under pressure and blackmailing in 2016 always had plenty of money with him. Suspicions began to grow within her after he failed to send her back to India from Jeddah even when the validity of her visa was about to expire.

Instead of sending her back to India, Riyas shifted her to a new place from where it was easy to reach Syria by road. It was at that point she began to suspect that Riyas’s intention could have been to take her to Syria and she started efforts to escape but this was not easy as she was said to be virtually under house arrest.

According to reports quoting the woman’s statement to the police, Riyas used to lock the door of the flat from outside whenever he went out. He had kept her mobile phone under round-the-clock observation using certain mobile Applications that enabled him to monitor the calls, messages and e-mails from and to her phone.

But her determination was strong enough to overcome the obstacles. She created a new e-mail ID, took photographs of the place, building and the flat and attached them to the messages she sent to her father in India through e-mails. The father, who identified the place with the help of some friends in Saudi Arabia, sent a flight ticket for her by e-mail.

As per a report, she waited for the appropriate moment and when it came, opened the apartment door from inside using a duplicate key when Riyas was away and took refuge in a neighbouring flat, the owner of which had arranged the taxi that took her to the airport. A Kerala family she met at the airport helped her in reaching home safely.

Back in India, she lodged a complaint with the Superintendent of Police, Ernakulam (Rural), by registered post as her trip to Saudi Arabia was preceded by a forced stay at Paravur, a place that came under his jurisdiction. She also filed a petition in the Kerala High Court against Riyas and his associates last November.

An investigation team headed by KB Prafulla Chandran, Deputy SP, had on Wednesday arrested two persons, Fayas Jamal (23) and Siyad (48), who had arranged the safe-houses for keeping the woman in Paravur, some 30 kilometers north of Kochi, before she was taken to Saudi Arabia. Fayas is a relative of first accused Riyas, who is abroad presently.

Slapped with charges under relevant sections of the UAPA and IPC, Fayas and Siyad were on Thursday remanded in judicial custody for 30 days by the Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court in Kochi. Four other persons from Kannur, a woman from Bangalore and two lawyers have also been named as accused in the case.

The woman fell in love with Riyas in 2014 when she was in Bangalore. He had allegedly forced her to have sex with him in November, 2015 and had videographed the act. He had allegedly used this video to force her to marry him on May 21, 2016 but she somehow managed to join her parents in Gujarat after that.

Riyas then moved a habeas corpus writ in the court and also used the obscene videos to blackmail her once again and this forced her to go with him again. She was then taken to Paravur where she was kept in custody with the help of Fayas and Siyad before Riyas took her to Jeddah, allegedly with the intention of taking her to ISIS camps in Syria. 



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