On April 9, a young Christian lady named Joisna Mary Joseph went missing from Thiruvambady in Kozhikode district. Her family, Christian ‘communist’ MLAs, and her church blamed love jihad rather openly when it became apparent that she had eloped with a Muslim named Shejin MS from Kodenchery nearby.
A string of grooming activities aimed at Christians has made the community jittery. It is suspected that jihadis are now targeting vulnerable Christian women using various tactics and that the Kerala Marxists are helping them.
Shejin is also the regional secretary of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Joisna is a nurse who works in Saudi Arabia and had just come down from there. She has been in love with another local Christian for four years. Joisna had come down after informing her parents that she wished to marry her boyfriend and wanted them to make arrangements. He was supposed to come that day to ask for her hand later in the day, but she allegedly eloped with Shejin early that morning.
Local media and the communists refused to speak about this part and have made it a love triangle. They say that Joisna has been in a relationship with Shejin for the past six months. Anguished parents tried to contact her but she never answered. She did take one call from her sister and allegedly told her that she was trapped somewhere, without mentioning exactly where.
Shejin did not inform the CPM about his ‘marriage’ plans. Usually, such illicit relationships and taking flight with a lady late into the night attract punishment from the Marxists. Interestingly, this incident did not, and the CPM instead punished their former Christian MLA, who raised the alarm. DYFI came out in favor of Shejin and extended full support to his marriage.
Both the current DYFI national president AA Rahim and the former president PA Mohammad Riyas came out to support Shejin and threatened that nobody would be allowed to interfere in this marriage. Rahim is now the CPM Rajya Sabha MP, and Riyas is Kerala’s Minister for Public Works Department and Tourism.
Rahim is a postgraduate degree holder in Islamic History and is a research student on ‘Print Media and the Muslim Renaissance Movements in Kerala.’ Despite his academic credentials, many consider him an illiterate and he encourages his critics with even more blunders. As for Riyas, his popularity in Kozhikode became apparent during the anniversary celebrations of the communist government. There were a few leaders on stage and thousands of empty chairs.
Christians believe that both are allegedly hardcore Islamists masquerading as Marxists. Rahim is married to Amritha Satheesh, and Riyas is known for his second marriage to T Veena, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter. Both these ladies are ‘Hindus,’ at least technically.
What they do in their private lives is their business, but there are allegations that both Rahim and Riyas are where they are only because of the CPM appeasement policy towards the Islamists. When the CPM Rajya Sabha membership came up earlier this month, there were arguments that Vijayan was forced by the Islamic fundamentalists led by Riyas to nominate Rahim.
They both have a history of violence against women. Rahim is accused of molesting a lady Professor named T Vijayalakshmi, director of the Students Service Centre at University College, Thiruvananthapuram, in 2017. Back then, Rahim was a syndicate member of the university in his capacity as leader of CPM’s student wing, the Students Federation of India (SFI).
In 2015, Dr. Sameeha Saithalavi, the former wife of Riyas came out with severe domestic violence allegations against Riyas and his family. They met and ‘fell in love’ when they were SFI leaders, and though both Riyas and Saithalvi are Marxists, they married in 2002 as per Muslim rituals and the ceremony was solemnized in a mosque.
Saithalavi alleged that Riyas had beaten her so severely that she had urinary incontinence. He used up 70 sovereigns of gold that Saithalvi had brought as dowry. TV was banned in their house, and the lady was not allowed to meet her friends. Though she was a doctor, she was forbidden from practicing. The lady was body-shamed and told that money could ‘buy women’. Saithalavi developed suicidal tendencies, and that is when she opened up about her torture to her parents and filed for separation from Riyas.
Naturally, the Christians in Thiruvambady alleged that Riyas and Rahim were not exactly role models to lecture them about secularism and women’s rights. Thiruvambady is a high-range region, and the Christians there are migrants from the Kottayam district. They are tightly knit, and the church plays a vital role in their lives. Most of them blindly follow the church and its diktats, but the Joisna case gave them a valid reason to allege grooming jihad.
The situation became volatile after Joisna allegedly informed her sister that she was being held captive, and she turned off her mobile phone. Anger grew, and protests began after the church rallied firmly behind the local laity. The church contacted Linto Joseph, CPM’s Thiruvambady MLA, who agreed to investigate the matter.
Jihadi violence by likes of PFI, the Colombo bombings of a church during Easter 2019, and the Hagia Sophia incident had already made the Kerala Christian voters uneasy. Many of them have grown disenchanted with the Congress-led UDF alliance which includes Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). However, the BJP could not capitalize on this churn, and even Jose K Mani and his party of high-range Christian farmers joined the Marxists.
Meanwhile, MLA Joseph, who won after the church helped him, could do nothing. His helplessness angered the local Christians, but Joseph said he could not contact comrade Shejin for a couple of days. Hundreds of Christians led by the church took out a protest march to the police station. Nothing happened.
By then, the 23rd Party Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had concluded in Kannur. Leaders told the Marxist cadre that radical Islamists had infiltrated Muslim organizations and blamed the Jamaat-E-Islami. CPM had accepted that these radical organizations are entrapping and recruiting professionally qualified ladies. They were careful not to mention the Popular Front of India (PFI).
CPM Party literature distributed to the members said dark communal forces with extremist ideologies lure educated young women from professional campuses. Interestingly, the official note did not explicitly mention the term love jihad. The rest of the 5-day meet was about ranting on Hindutva and the RSS and lavish buffets for the select attendees.
George M Thomas, a two-time local legislator of the CPI (M) who also liaised between the Church and the Marxist party, assured the girl’s family that she would be brought back safely. Dialectical materialism took the backseat when Thomas thought like a Christian. After all, the church was directly involved in fighting the grooming jihad case.
Thomas appeared on live TV and used the words that the CPM dreads, ‘Love Jihad’. He admitted that grooming existed and validated Joisna’s family’s charges. Thomas had just repeated what he heard at his party congress, but the Love Jihad jibe enraged the Islamists. Thomas later backtracked and said that love jihad did not exist, but his initial statement had done the damage.
News trickled in that Joisna was held captive in a terrorist radicalization center somewhere in Kollam or Alappuzha. On April 12, Joisna appeared on Shejin’s FaceBook page and declared that she had eloped of her own will, and the couple visited the Thamarassery court. They expressed their desire to live together.
For added effect, the couple went to a church on Easter day and were found loitering near a temple on the day of Vishu. Such dramatics satisfied the secular crowd but not Joisna’s parents or the commoner. They believed she was showing classic symptoms of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ where the victim identifies with the kidnapper after a period of dominance.
Joisna’s father then approached the Kerala high court and filed a Habeas Corpus. Since the ‘minorities’ were concerned, the court immediately swung into action. Hindus questioned where the high court was when hundreds of Hindu ladies had become victims of grooming jihad. What the court did afterward did not surprise many. On April 19, Deepika, the Syro-Malabar Church mouthpiece, published an editorial about love/grooming jihad on the same day that the court asked the couple to appear before it.
Allegedly, the jihadi ecosystem evident during the infamous Akhila Ashokan alias Hadiya and Shefin Jehan case discreetly escorted the newlyweds. The court allowed Joisna to go with Shejin but dismissed her parent’s plea for speaking to her. Adulthood and free will were lavishly brandished, and the court even agreed to the CPM counsel’s version that Joisna’s family might emotionally blackmail her!
The BJP expressed solidarity with the victim’s family. The Congress too jumped in and said that a delegation led by the DCC president would visit Joisna’s family but later backed out. For his Love Jihad reference, the CPM censured former MLA Comrade Thomas. The CPM still maintains that the word ‘Love Jihad’ is the false propaganda of the Sangh Parivar. How long will Congress and the CPM juggle between the Christians and the Muslims in Kerala remains unknown.
Shejin is an alleged bum who never worked in his entire life and is also a known womanizer. This is not the first time he has been embroiled in such controversies, and he is well known for his ‘night patrols.’ The CPM is now in the process of getting him a government job.
Joisna’s father, Joseph, said that his daughter was as good as dead to him and he would never accept her back. He warned her that vultures now surround her. He added that he was let down by the entire system – the government, police, and courts.