Kerala Mother awaits return of daughter who went to fight Jihad in Afghanistan

Nimisha and her husband Bexin

Bindu, the mother of Nimisha, who converted to Islam and went to fight the holy war in Afghanistan three years ago, is eagerly awaiting the return of her daughter.

The case, which created an uproar in Kerala, involves the secret conversion of Nimisha — born in a prominent Nair family in Thiruvanthapuram — to Islam around 2013. She disappeared in 2016.

According to various accounts of the case, Nimisha became close to Sajjad Rahman who was a classmate of hers at a medical entrance exam coaching center in her home town of Thiruvananthapuram.

Nimisha got admission in a dental college in the Northern Kerala district of Kasargode, and the two continued their relationship.

According to Nimisha’s mother, Sajjad Rahman’s family got her daughter to convert to Islam. However, in the end, Sajjad did not marry the girl.

Nimisha, who had by now taken the name of Fathima, instead married Bexin Vincent, who too had recently converted to Islam and had assumed the name of Isa, and was on the lookout for a wife.

Soon after, they left with a group of around 20 people to Afghanistan in search of a more Islamic lifestyle in Afghanistan.

While the families of most of the others in the group kept quiet, Bindu started searching for her daughter, who had studied in a high-end English medium school in the capital.

She played a crucial role in highlighting the case in the media. Nimisha’s case was quoted by the family of Athira, another girl who converted to Islam under the influence of her college-mates in Salem, to argue that Athira faced the risk of being sent abroad by Islamists. The Kerala High Court subsequently annulled Athira’s marriage with a Muslim activist, but the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court.

Three days ago, Nimisha was finally tracked down to a group of ISIS fighters who surrendered before Aghan security forces. The girl, as well as her daughter and her husband, are expected to be extradited to India.

Now, says Bindu, she can’t wait to welcome her daughter and her family back.

“This is the end of three years of pain for me,” she told media. “I slept well for the first time yesterday. I hope I can continue to be this happy in the future also.”

It remains to be seen whether Nimisha/Fathima is released to her mother, kept in custody for questioning or made to face charges in India.

Bindu, however, said that she will be full supportive of any course of action that the government of India takes.

“Let them complete all the formalities. Otherwise, tomorrow, if a different government comes and says the procedures were not followed, I don’t want them [daughter and her family] to be made a scapegoat later,” she said.