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    Feminists, democratic groups condemn targeting hijab wearing Muslim students

    Civil societyFeminists, democratic groups condemn targeting hijab wearing Muslim students
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    Feminists, democratic groups condemn targeting hijab wearing Muslim students

    An open letter signed by over a thousand people thus far says that the Hijab is just a pretext to impose apartheid on and attack Muslim women.

    Over a thousand feminists, democratic groups, collectives, academicians, lawyers and individuals across the walks of life came together to condemn the targeting and exclusion of Hijab wearing Muslim women students reaffirming that Hijab is only the latest pretext to attack Muslim women. They point out that this follows on the heels of multiple “online auctions” of Muslim women and making speeches calling for their sexual and reproductive enslavement.

    In an open letter signed so far by over 1850 people, these groups and individuals affirmed that they believe that the Constitution mandates schools and colleges to nurture plurality, not uniformity.

    The signatories iterate that the Constitution mandates schools and colleges to nurture plurality, not uniformity. “Uniforms in such institutions are meant to minimise differences between students of different and unequal economic classes,” they say. “They are not intended to impose cultural uniformity on a plural country.”

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    They argue that this is why Sikhs are allowed to wear turbans not only in the classroom but even in the police and the army and that this is the reason behind Hindu students wearing the bindi (or the pottu or tilak or Vibhuti) with school and college uniforms without comment or controversy. Likewise, they say, Muslim women should be able to wear hijabs with their uniforms.

    The letter was endorsed by over 130 groups across 15 states including All India Democratic Women’s Association, All India Progressive Women’s Association, National Federation of Indian Women, Bebaak Collective, Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, Awaaz e Nizwan, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Forum Against Oppression of Women, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Dalit Women’s Collective, National Federation of Dalit Women, Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression and Feminists In Resistance among others.

    Enforcing apartheid

    The groups say that uniforms in such institutions are meant to minimise the differences between students of different and unequal economic classes. They are not intended to impose cultural uniformity on a plural country.

    Further it states that, ‘making hijabi women sit in separate classrooms or move from colleges of their choice to Muslim-run colleges is nothing but apartheid. Hindu supremacist groups in coastal Karnataka have, since 2008, been unleashing violence to enforce such apartheid, attacking togetherness between Hindu and Muslim classmates, friends, lovers. It must be remembered that such violence has been accompanied by equally violent attacks on Hindu women who visit pubs, wear “western” clothes, or love/marry Muslim men. Islamophobic hate crimes have been joined at the hip to patriarchal hate crimes against Muslim and Hindu women – by the same Hindu-supremacist perpetrators.’

    Rulebooks in at least one of the Udupi colleges allowed Muslim students to wear hijabs to college as long as they matched the colour of the uniform.

    “It is not hijabs that provoked the ongoing educational disruptions. It is Hindu-supremacist outfit which disrupted harmony by staging demonstrations with saffron stoles to demand a ban on hijabs,” they say. “Banning both saffron stoles and hijabs is not a fair or just solution because unlike hijabs worn by some Muslim women, the only purpose of the saffron stoles in this instance were to achieve a ban on the hijab and intimidate Muslim women.”

     

    Image: Hippopx licensed to use under Creative Commons Zero – CC0

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