SEREMBAN: Today is the Tamil new year of Chittirai Puthandu. But instead of performing special prayers and making food offerings at temples, Hindu mother S. Deepa will spend it with her nine-year-old daughter, away from other family members.
The mother of two said she felt empty as her six-year-old son was not with her to celebrate the occasion.
The son was allegedly snatched by her Muslim convert ex-husband Izwan Abdullah about 48 hours after the High Court gave Deepa the custody of the couple’s two children.
“In previous years, we would celebrate the occasion on a grand scale dressed in new clothes and would perform prayers at a temple near our home,” said Deepa, who had to move out of her home after the son was taken away.
“Instead of being at the temple on this auspicious day, here I am thinking where I would have to move tomorrow so that my daughter will be safe with me,” she said without disclosing her whereabouts.
Deepa, a clerk, and Izwan are in the midst of a bitter custody battle over their two children.
She claimed that Izwan had, prior to that, abandoned the family but discreetly returned and converted the children to Islam last April.
He also applied for and was granted custody of their children by the Syariah High Court.
Deepa said although the police refused to investigate her ex-husband for allegedly snatching their son from her, she would continue to fight for justice.
“I am not going to take this sitting down. I will fight until my children are back with me and will certainly challenge their conversion, which was done without my knowledge,” she said.
However, she said she would give her children the freedom to choose which faith they wanted once they turned 18.
Deepa said she had nothing against Islam as her mother and siblings had also embraced the faith and are married to Muslims.
She also refuted a claim made by Izwan that her son was happier living with him.
“I do not want to talk about this as the judge can ask them directly when the matter is heard before the higher civil court,” she said.
Izwan, a former lorry driver who is now a volunteer with Muslim non-governmental organisation Yayasan Kasih Sayang Negri Sembilan, said he might call for a press conference next week to give his side of the story.