- Published on Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:23
KUALA LUMPUR: After five years locked in a bitter interfaith custody row with his Hindu ex-wife, Muslim convert Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah is now appealing for public donations through PAS organ Harakah Daily to foot his legal bills.
In an article today, the former Hindu said he does not have a fixed job to help pay for his battle in the courts, which he now intends to take to the Court of Appeal.
The 45-year-old former Hindu reportedly wants to challenge the Ipoh High Court’s decision to grant full custody of his three children to his estranged ex-wife M. Indira Gandhi.
The article urged those who “sympathise” with Mohd Ridzuan to bank in their donations to his or his lawyer Mustafa Kamal Mat Hassan’s Maybank accounts.
Mohd Ridzuan told Harakah Daily that he misses his two older children who have been residing with their mother since the custody nightmare began in 2009.
“They were very close to me. During their last meeting with me, I managed to take them for a meal in McDonald’s. They were very happy.
“They even asked me why I did not take them away to be with their youngest sibling,” he was quoted saying.
“It pains me when I remember the incident because they were truly unhappy at having to part from me. They wanted to come along with me and their little sister,” he added.
In the protracted child custody dispute that stretched over five years, the Shariah court granted Mohd Ridzuan custody of his three children in September 2009, while Indira won full custody in the Ipoh High Court on March 11, 2010.
The separation started on April 3, 2009, when Ridzuan, then known as K. Pathmanathan, left the house with Prasana and the birth certificates of the couple’s three children, later using the birth documents to unilaterally convert the trio to Islam.
On July 25 last year, the Ipoh High Court also annulled the conversion certificates of then-five-year-old Prasana Diksa and her elder sister Tevi Darsiny and brother Karan Dinish — aged 16 and 15, declaring it unconstitutional to force a minor to embrace a different faith without the consent of both parents.
On May 30, the Ipoh High Court cited Mohd Ridzuan for contempt, saying that he must comply with the 2010 custody order and return Prasana in one week’s time or face imprisonment until he gives up Prasana.
The Ipoh High Court also issued a recovery order on the same day, to direct the police to track down Prasana and return her to Indira.
But by the June 6 deadline set by the Ipoh High Court, Mohd Ridzuan did not show up and failed to return Prasana to Indira.
On June 12, the Ipoh High Court issued another court order, instructing the police to submit a progress report on the first week of every month until they succeed in returning Prasana to Indira.
The June 12 order was then served on the Ipoh and Kota Baru district police headquarters — with the latter said to be the Kelantan town where Mohd Ridzuan is believed to be staying with Prasana.
But citing conflicting directives, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar refused to act on court orders in interfaith child custody cases, claiming that the police were sandwiched between the civil and Shariah legal systems.
Late last month, the Attorney-General’s Chambers said it will apply to intervene in Indira’s case and another high-profile interfaith child custody case in Seremban, saying that it may refer the cases to the Federal Court to obtain a final decision.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail also said his agency would seek to stay court orders that the civil and Shariah courts had issued to the police in both the Ipoh and Seremban cases.
Indira has since filed contempt proceedings against IGP Khalid for the police’s failure to return Prasana to her care.
-The Malay Mail