Kuala Lumpur, Jul 28: After winning a tough legal battle to nullify the conversion of her three Hindu children to Islam, an ethnic Indian in Malaysia has started contempt proceedings against her estranged husband for the custody of her youngest daughter.
Indira Gandhi is relieved that her children can retain their Hindu faith after a High Court on Thursday ruled their conversion null and void because it was unconstitutional, against the right of natural justice, and was done without hearing the mother or children.
While the kindergarten teacher has custody of two children, she still does not know the whereabouts of her youngest daughter who was taken away by her estranged husband in 2009.
Indira said she has started contempt proceedings against her husband for not complying with a court order to hand over all the children.
Indira, 40, said the two children with her -- Tevi Darsiny (16) and Karan Dinish (15) -- are happy that their identity crisis has come to an end.
Indira's youngest daughter Prasana Diksa was only a year old when she was taken away.
She has no idea how to reach her husband K Patmanathan, who embraced Islam and adopted the name Mohammad Ridzuan Abdullah.
"It's so painful to imagine that my little daughter may appear in front of me and not recognise me as her mother. My heart aches," she said yesterday.
"I don't know how I will handle it. I have no idea what lifestyle she has adopted over the years but no matter how she was raised, I want her back. She is my daughter and should be with me," she said.
In 2010, a High Court ordered Indira's estranged husband to hand over the children to her, who was given custody of them. Her husband had by then converted all three children to Islam.
After the court order, he returned the two older children to Indira but refused to hand over the youngest child.
The custody battle is now settled, with the Federal Court upholding the decision in favour of Indira.
Tevi Darsiny said she was happy she had been granted the freedom to practice the Hindu faith.
Both the children said they had gone through a hard time to fIgure out who they were.
Indira said she expected Ridzuan to file an appeal against the court's decision. "My counsel and I are ready to fight back," she said.
Conversion is a sensitive issue in Muslim majority Malaysia where around 60 per cent of 28 million people are Muslim Malays, with sizeable non-Muslim ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.