RSS backs hijab use, says it’s part of Indian culture

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The RSS Muslim wing — Muslim Rashtriya Manch — has backed Bibi Muskan’s plea to wear a hijab and condemned the saffron frenzy surrounding her, reports Asian Lite News

In a significant move, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has come out in support of the Karnataka student, Bibi Muskan Khan, who shot to prominence during hijab protests, and said that hijab or ‘pardah’ is also part of Indian culture.

The RSS Muslim wing — Muslim Rashtriya Manch — has backed Bibi Muskan’s plea to wear a hijab and condemned the saffron frenzy surrounding her.

Talking to reporters, Anil Singh, Avadh prant sanchalak of Muslim Rashtriya Manch, said, “She is a daughter and sister of our community. We stand by her in her hour of crisis.”

In its statement, the Muslim Rashtriya Manch said that Hindu culture teaches respect of women and those who chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and tried to terrorise the girl were wrong.

“The girl has a constitutional freedom to wear a hijab,” the statement read. If she had violated the campus dress code, then the institution has the right to act against her.

“The behaviour of boys sporting saffron scarfs and chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is unacceptable. They have defamed Hindu culture,” said the RSS leader.

“Hijab or purdah is also part of Indian culture and Hindu women too sport purdah as per choice. And the same condition applies to Bibi Muskan,” said Singh.

“Our sarsangh chalak has said, Muslims are our brothers and the DNA of both communities are the same. I appeal to members of Hindu community to accept Muslims as their brethren,” added Singh.

‘Let HC decide first’

The Supreme Court on Thursday refrained from giving a specific date for the urgent listing of a plea seeking transfer of petitions from the Karnataka High Court, which is currently examining the permissibility of hijab in schools and colleges.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana.

Sibal submitted that this deals with what is happening in Karnataka, and its spreading in the entire country. The Chief Justice told Sibal that the Karnataka High Court is already examining the issue and it should be allowed to decide it. “Why should we jump in at this stage? It does not look nice,” said the top court.

Sibal said the exams are just two months away and his client has filed the petition today (Thursday). The Chief Justice emphasized that let the high court hear the matter first.

Sibal submitted that the top court could list the transfer petition and keep it pending. The bench said after the top court interferes in the matter, then the high court would never hear it saying the issue is pending before the apex court.

Sibal insisted that this issue needs to be considered, as schools and colleges are closed. The bench reiterated, “Let HC hear it first”.

Sibal pressed that he is only asking the top court to list the petition, and if the high court does not pass an order, then this court can transfer it to itself and hear it. After a brief hearing in the matter, the Chief Justice, “we will see”.

The plea filed by Udupi college student Fathima Bushra said: “The said fundamental rights of the Petitioner have been violated with impunity on one hand by the Respondent No.2 which has denied entry to the Petitioner into the college, thereby debarring her from attending her regular classes until the Petitioner and similarly situated girls remove their headscarf/hijab”.

Larger HC bench formed

Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi on Wednesday formed a full-fledged larger bench as per the request of a single judge bench to hear the slew of petitions filed by students of Pre-University Colleges on wearing of hijab to classrooms.

The larger bench comprising the Chief Justice, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice Khaji Jaibunnesa Mohiyuddin will take up the matter for hearing from Thursday noon at 2.30 pm.

Earlier, the single bench headed by Justice Dixit, which heard the matter, which has snowballed into a major crisis in the state and discussed at international levels, decided the matter to be heard by the larger bench. It directed the High Court Registrar to submit the documents and petitions immediately to the Chief Justice as the matter is of utmost importance and needs to be heard urgently.

The single bench opined that there are questions related to the Constitution, there are aspects related to personal laws, and half a dozen court verdicts have been discussed in connection with the case. “I have verified more than 12 verdicts in this regard. There are arguments and counter-arguments related to the case. Let, the Chief Justice decide on handing over the matter to an extended bench,” Justice Dixit stated while referring the case to a larger bench.

However, the bench refused to give an interim order even as petitioners pleaded to give a ruling on wearing of hijab to classes as only two months are left for this academic year. The larger bench is expected to give an interim order on Thursday in connection with wearing of hijab and uniform.

As many as seven petitions have been submitted to the court so far challenging the government circular of making uniform compulsory and upholding the decision taken by the college managements and development committee regarding wearing of hijab.

Meanwhile, State Minority Education Institutions Association President Mohammad Imtiaz has submitted a complaint to the State Police Chief Praveen Sood regarding minorities being targeted in connection with hijab row.

“The protests are targeting minorities. Few of them are trying to destroy the law and order situation. They are attempting to create unrest in the society and create a controversy. Raghupathy Bhat, BJP MLA who is also President of School Development Management Committee of Udupi Pre University Women’s College, is responsible for the crisis,” the complaint stated.

The hijab row started last month with few students of Udupi Government Pre-University College wearing hijab being denied permission to attend classes. The college authorities maintain that the students who used to come without hijabs have suddenly started coming in hijab. The students later went on protest refusing to attend classes without hijab. The issue became a controversy and spread to other districts, leading to tension and even violence.

The state government on Tuesday declared a three-day holiday in wake of the tensions.

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