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India says ‘motivated comments’ not welcome as US, Pakistan wade in Hijab row

Source : Hindustan Times

India says ‘motivated comments’ not welcome as US, Pakistan wade in Hijab row
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweets MEA response to countries commenting Hijab row in Karnataka (Image: ANI/PTI)

After the United States and Pakistan waded in the Karnataka hijab row, the ministry of external affairs on Saturday said that “motivated comments” on India’s internal issues are not welcome. The ministry said in a statement that the matter regarding dress code is under judicial examination and the issues are resolved through its constitutional framework and mechanism.

“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,” the ministry said.

“Our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as our democratic ethos and polity, are the context in which issues are considered and resolved. Those who know India well would have a proper appreciation of these realities. Motivated comments on our internal issues are not welcome,” it added.

On Friday, the US ambassador for International Religious Freedom said that Karnataka should not ban hijab in schools as it “violates religious freedom.” 

“Religious freedom includes the ability to choose one’s religious attire. The Indian state of Karnataka should not determine permissibility of religious clothing. Hijab bans in schools violate religious freedom and stigmatize and marginalize women and girls,” the diplomat tweeted.

Pakistan had earlier summoned Indian Charge D’affaires to convey its concerns over the hijab row, accusing India of “religious intolerance, negative stereotyping and discrimination against Muslims.” Islamabad said in a statement it was concerned over the “anti-hijab campaign, being spearheaded by RSS-BJP combine in Karnataka.”

The Karnataka government has deferred the reopening of the educational institutes on the high court’s advice in its interim order.

“Pending consideration of all these petitions, we restrain all the students regardless of their religion or faith from wearing saffron shawls (bhagwa) and connect matters scarfs, hijab, religious flags or the like within the classroom,” the court said.

The hearing in Karnataka high court will resume on Monday. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has declined to list the case for urgent hearing.

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