Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate has taken a stand on the ongoing hijab (headscarves) row, extending support to Muslim students in India. In her tweet on Tuesday, Yousafzai stated that refusing to let girls go to school in hijabs is horrifying.
Earlier this month, Muslim women students at a government college in the Udupi district were stopped by the staff members from entering the college premises, ordering them to remove their hijabs. The principal of the educational institute also took it upon himself to announce that any kind of religious clothing would be banned in college. Despite repeated pleas about their exams scheduled in the coming months, the women were kept from attending their classes
The protest for and against the hijab ban has now spread to multiple colleges in the state with many boys turning up clad in saffron shawls.
Malala on hijab row
Yousafzai took to Twitter on February 8 to condemn the act of barring students from attending classes in hijab, saying, “Refusing to let girls go to school in their hijabs is horrifying. Objectification of women persists — for wearing less or more.” She further added that Indian leaders needed to stop the marginalisation of Muslim women.
Suggested Reading: Communal Faceoff: Is Karnataka Hijab Row Normalising Street Harassment Of Girls?
Her post also received a quick response from BJP MLA and party national general secretary CT Ravi where he tweeted, “Who is this MOOLAH interfering in the internal affairs of India? Shouldn’t she be hiding behind her burqa?”
On Tuesday, a video went viral on social media in which a young woman from Mandya was heckled by fringe male activists who shouted “Jai Shri Ram” at her while she was on her way to college to submit an assignment. Instigated, the woman went on to shout Allahu Akbar back at the men, who then went on to further harass her by following the student, and demanding that she removed her headscarf.
Due to the protests, the Basavaraj Bommai-led government in Karnataka has ordered schools to be closed for three days as there have been many protests spread across the state due to the issue.
The hijab row has now spread to other states of the country. Madhya Pradesh education minister Inder Singh Parmar too demanded a ban on hijab yesterday saying, “Hijab is not a part of uniform and, therefore, I feel it should be banned. We will review the situation and take a call… A uniform dress code will be implemented in the coming days.”