The Hadiya Case: Human Rights Violations and State Islamophobic Propaganda in India

Author: Adhvaidha Kalidasan, National University of Singapore
Published: January 22, 2021

Citation: Kalidasan, A. (2021). The Hadiya Case: Human Rights Violations and State Islamophobic Propaganda in India. IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 6(SI).


This paper examines the “Hadiya case” which in the years 2016 and 2017 was well known throughout India and revolved around a woman, named Hadiya, her conversion from Hinduism to Islam and her marriage to a Muslim man. It caught the attention of the entire nation through intense coverage by the national media. The decision of Hadiya, who is an adult with her own conscience, to practice the religion of her choice and marry the person with whom she wishes to share her life, instigated a public legal debate. Hadiya’s case, which evoked Islamophobic and patriarchal ideologies, should be placed within the current political conditions of India. With regard to language, religion and ethnicity, India’s diversity under a right-wing political regime has been questioned, while the human rights of women, religious minorities like Muslims and Christians, dalits (lower caste people) and indigenous people from tribal communities have been violated. Paying close attention to the legal and logical reasoning of the Indian High Court during the year-long trial, this paper also evokes a critical perspective on the understanding of growing Islamophobia, hatred politics against Muslims and the violation of women’s rights, particularly of those from minority religious communities and lower castes in. Indian society is facing cultural dominance under the Hindutva ideology – an ideology that is intent on the dominance of Hindus and Hinduism. Such a cultural and ideological dominance can be seen in the everyday life of Indians, in legal systems, media institutions and other formal and informal organizations. As will become clear, such cultural politics were disguised in the form of legality in the Hadiya case.


culture, gender injustice, human rights; Islamophobia, right wing politics