“Hadiya’s safety is the responsibility of Kerala government”: Tamil Poet Rajathi Salma writes to the Chief Minister of Kerala

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This is the text of the open letter to the Chief Minister of Kerala from the celebrated Tamil poet Rajathi Salma, a leading literary and activist voice from South India whose writing has often revealed the pain and poignancy of women’s unfreedoms and the denial of a creative life of choice to them. This is about the never-ending agony that the confinement of a young woman, Hadiya, by her father, has become. Hadiya is to be heard by the Supreme Court of India on 27 November 2017, but the Kerala government refuses to take responsibility for her safe travel to Delhi, after many many pleas from civil society

Com. Pinarayi Vijayan,
Hon. Chief Minister of Kerala

Dear Comrade,

It is with great sorrow that many admirers of your government and Kerala’s communist legacy including myself, have received the news of the family confinement of a young woman converted to Islam, Hadiya. It appears that we have let her down badly, and the responsibility for her continuing confinement falls not just on the Supreme Court of India but also on each of us.

Family confinement is not normal even if it may appear socially acceptable. It erodes the human spirit; it corrodes humanity itself. Hadiya’s plight is not hers alone. Every woman in this country ought to fear for herself at the sight of this flagrant violation of a woman’s freedom.

The Supreme Court, I hear, will listen to her on 27 November 2017. Through this letter, may I request you to kindly facilitate safe travel to Delhi and back for this young woman? There are rumours that she is going to be taken there by rail, accompanied by two policemen; as her father is refusing air travel. Needless to say, she is now known all over the country, and the risk of Hindutvavaadi groups attacking her is very high. Let she not fall to mob lynching, which the BJP seems to be actively promoting in the country. The Kerala government will be ultimately held responsible for her safety, not her father. Therefore may I request you, on behalf of all women in India and myself, to make sure that Hadiya travels by air with adequate security and proper arrangements for safe stay in Delhi, for the hearing on 27 November and back?

Thanking you in advance, and in the hope that you hear this plea.

Yours sincerely,
Poet and Activist


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