IPOH, May 17 — Wronged Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi has expresed her renewed hope of recovering her daughter Prasana Diksa after Pakatan Harapan (PH) won the general election.
Indira, who was embroiled in a nine-year legal battle to regain custody of her daughter, told Malay Mail she believes the current administration will be able to find her child, who turns 10 this year.
“I feel more hopeful, because they are more open, more transparent, and I can see their efforts to reduce corruption and do the right things,” Indira told Malay Mail.
“I also know many of the leaders are aware of my struggle and they have been very supportive.”
The child was allegedly taken from Indira by her ex-husband Muhammad Riduan Abdullah in 2009, when she was 11 months old.
Indira said there had been no updates on her situation, but she remains confident that her lawyer M. Kulasegaran — who is also Ipoh Barat MP — would keep fighting for her and her family.
“In fact, after he won the Ipoh Barat seat, he told me that he wanted to get my child back in a week. However, I know it will take longer than that because there is so much going on,” she divulged.
Indira also felt Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would be able to understand the pain of her struggle over the best part of a decade.
“Even before he won the election, I felt he was a humble man. As a parent, he will know what I have been going through as a mother,” she said.
On April 2, 2009, Indira’s ex-husband K. Pathmanathan — now known as Muhammad Riduan Abdullah — covertly converted his three children to Islam without their knowledge and without Indira’s consent, before going to the Shariah court just a few days later to obtain custody rights for them.
Indira previously secured a mandamus order compelling then inspector-general of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to retrieve Prasana and return the child to her mother.
However, Khalid reportedly said police could not execute the order, citing the jurisdictional conflict between the civil courts and their Shariah counterparts — which had issued an order in favour of Riduan.
But in January, the Federal Court nullified the conversion of Indira’s three children to Islam.
After the landmark decision, current Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the police will track down Prasana Diksa and Muhammad Riduan.
Kulasegaran echoed Indira’s confidence, saying that PH could now communicate directly with the IGP now they were in power.
“After our election win, I think he should make fresh efforts to recover Prasana and Riduan. We will follow up with him on this,” Kulasegaran said when contacted.
“We are committed to this issue. In fact, one of our manifesto’s special commitments for the Indian community promises to resolve the issue of unilateral religious conversion of minors peacefully.”