KOTA KINABALU: Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has suggested that the children involved in recent custody battles between Muslim and non-Muslim parents be placed under the care of the Welfare Department until the courts sort out the issues.
“The cases involve two legal systems, the Syariah and the civil. We do not want to be tersepit ditengah (caught in the middle),” he told reporters after meeting senior Sabah police officers and district police officers in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone).
Reiterating his stand that the police would not enforce orders from both Syariah and civil courts, the IGP said that as both laws were equal, it would be unfair to choose one over the other.
He said the basic facts in the cases of Muslim convert Izwan Abdullah against his ex-wife S. Deepa in Negri Sembilan and kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi against her former husband Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah in Perak were similar, adding that in both cases, the men had converted without the knowledge of their wives, resulting in women claiming custody of their children.
“I will discuss this with the Perak and Negri Sembilan police chiefs and see whether it is best for the children to be kept in the care of the Welfare Department.
“This way, the parents need not fight over the custody of their children and can visit them at the homes if they want to,” he said.
In April 2009, Mohd Ridzuan, formerly known as K. Patmanathan, took away his youngest child Prasana Diksa, then 11 months old, and converted her and her two siblings Tevi Darsiny, then 12, and Karan Dinish, then 11, to Islam without Indira’s knowledge.
The High Court later granted Indira full custody of all three children and on March 11, 2010, Mohd Ridzuan was ordered to return Prasana Diksa to the mother.
The Syariah High Court, meanwhile, also awarded Mohd Ridzuan custody of all three children.
In the case involving clerk Deepa and her Muslim convert husband Izwan who was previously known as N. Viran, both the Syariah and civil courts have granted them custody of the children.
In December last year, Deepa filed an application to get back her children, Sharmila, nine, and Mithran, six, who had also been converted to Islam and to quash the custody order by the Syariah Court.
On April 11, the IGP had said that the police would not act against Izwan for taking his son from his ex-wife’s house, despite a High Court order granting Deepa custody of their two children on the grounds that there were two clashing court orders on the matter.
In May, the Appeals Court rejected Izwan’s request for a stay of the Seremban High Court’s decision to grant custody of the children to Deepa.
Mohd Ridzuan has so far defied a court order to return Prasana Diksa while Izwan too has failed to return Mithran as ordered by the court.