|By : V. Vasudevan
Indira Rani (left) says her son, Karan Dinish,
and his older sister can’t go to school now because she fears they will
be taken from her.
All she wants is for her two older children to
return to school, her baby back home and the family's life returned to
"My children can't go to school now. I fear the school will turn them
over to the syariah court, so I am keeping them at home," said M.
Indira Ghandi, 35, yesterday at a press conference.
life turned topsy-turvy after her estranged husband, K. Path-manathan,
40, became a Muslim without her knowledge and took their baby away from
Then, as Muhammad Ridzuan Abdullah, he had all their
three children -- Tevi Darsiny, 12, Karan Dinish, 11 and baby Prasana
Diksa -- converted to Islam on April 2 without Indira's consent.
Ridzuan has since been trying to take custody of Tevi Darsiny and Karan Dinish.
According to Indira, he took Prasana Diksa from her by force. She has lodged six police reports to date.
The government has formed a three-man committee, comprising three ministers, to find an amicable solution to her situation.
They are Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department Senator Tan Sri
Koh Tsu Koon (Unity) and Maj-Gen (R) Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom (Islamic
Affairs), and Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam.
The committee met on Monday but offered Indira little hope of immediate relief.
Yesterday, Indira's plea to the authorities was simple.
"I am worried for my children's studies. My daughter is sitting for the
Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah. How is she to prepare for the exam?
"Their lives have been disrupted as a result of this. They can't go
anywhere as I fear they will be taken from me," she said as her
children sat beside her.
Indira said that after the syariah
court failed to serve her with the notice to hand the children over to
their father, it served the notice on the school instead.
She claimed the school appeared inclined to hand the children to the court and their father.
Indira said her marriage ran into problems earlier this year. The couple tried to reconcile but failed.
"Things came to a head on April 1, when he grabbed our infant child
from our home. He took their birth certificates and some of my
Indira said she only learnt that her husband had
embraced Islam when she went to report the infant being forcibly taken
"At the police station, they informed us about the conversion."
In the 48 hours that followed, Ridzuan moved to convert the three children to Islam, using their birth certificates.
He then got the syariah court to issue an order giving him custody of the children.
Indira said the infant is now being cared for by her mother-in-law.
Yesterday, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang took a swipe at the three-man committee.
"That it will take a while to find a solution to the problem is most unsatisfactory.
"The issue is clear for everyone to see. The children have been converted without their mother's consent."
Lim felt Indira's case should be a role model for the government's "One Malaysia: People First, Performance Now" slogan.
"Instead, we are being given excuses. The government should put a stop to this type of cases by simply making the law clear."