In the midst of global outrage over the hijab controversy, India said today that motivated remarks on domestic problems are not acceptable. Muslim students in numerous institutions in Karnataka are requesting that they be allowed to attend classes while wearing a headscarf.
Arindam Bagchi, a spokesman for the External Affairs Ministry, stated that people who are familiar with India will have a clear understanding of the reality.
“A matter regarding dress code in some educational institutions in the State of Karnataka is under judicial examination by the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka. Our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as our democratic ethos and polity, are the context in which issues are considered and resolved,” said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on comments on dress code in some educational institutions in Karnataka.
“Those who know India well would have a proper appreciation of those realities,” he added.
India’s reply comes after the United States government body that monitors and reports on religious freedom throughout the world on Friday has slammed Karnataka in the midst of a controversy over Muslim students’ choice to wear hijab on campus.
The ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF), Rashad Hussain tweeted that “hijab bans in schools violate religious freedom,” referring to the controversy in Karnataka that has prompted the state government to close schools and colleges until the high court concludes its observation into the hijab ban petitions.
The ambassador’s office tweeted, “Religious freedom includes the ability to choose one’s religious attire. The Indian state of Karnataka should not determine the permissibility of religious clothing. Hijab bans in schools violate religious freedom and stigmatize and marginalize women and girls.”
Notably, Pakistan had summoned India’s Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad over an ongoing hijab row in Karnataka.
The Pakistan Foreign Office on Wednesday had said that the Indian Charged Affaires was summoned over the hijab row in Karnataka.
Protests over a hijab ban at one government-run college in northern Karnataka of Udupi began last week and expanded to various other institutions where females wearing hijabs were barred from entering. As saffron scarf-wearing students staged counter-protests, authorities were forced to use tear gas to contain the situation at one campus.
The Karnataka High Court will continue hearing petitions challenging the hijab ban. In an interim judgement issued on Friday, the high court stated that no religious apparel, such as shawls or hijab, will be permitted inside educational institutions.
(With inputs from ANI)