Prominent figures worldwide have reacted strongly to the hijab ban in colleges of Karnataka as the protests spread.
Echoes of the Hijab ban controversy are being heard in different parts of the world as several prominent people have reacted to the harassment of women in the southern state of Karnataka.
Noble peace prize winner women’s rights activist Malala Yousufzai says Indian leaders must stop the marginalisation of Muslim women.
Reacting to the Hijab ban in Karnataka colleges, Malala tweeted, “Refusing to let girls go to school in their hijabs is horrifying. Objectification of women persists — for wearing less or more. Indian leaders must stop the marginalisation of Muslim women.”
A well-known Indophile and Hindi Lecturer at Melbourne’s La Trobe University, Dr Ian Woolford, said, “The “regressive practice” is denying education to Muslim girls. But instead you criticise the clothing of Muslim girls. You choose to fuel anti-Muslim sentiment. You make it normal to hate Muslims. This is a very alarming post. It feels like a warning call to India and the world.”
Many organisations involving the Indian diaspora have also condemned the ban as a violation of human rights.
International human rights organisation Hindus for Human Rights tweeted, “Right now in Karnataka, Muslim students are being denied entry to school and forced to sit in separate classrooms for wearing the Hijab. We’ve seen this film before.”
Indian American Muslim Council “unequivocally condemns the discriminatory treatment and denial of educational opportunity being inflicted on Muslim students wearing hijab at various colleges in Karnataka state.”
On the other hand, many support the ban. Former president of Oxford University Rashmi Samant said, “In Iran, Soheila and Marziyeh were attacked with acid for not wearing their hijab “properly”. The suffrage of the college girls in Udupi is an insult to every woman fighting for freedom from Hijab including the brave Muslim women in Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, with incidents of stone-pelting and violence from different parts of the state, the government has declared a holiday in high schools and colleges for the next three days. Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the state would “follow the High Court’s order” on the issue.
“I appeal to all the students, teachers and management of schools and colleges as well as people of Karnataka to maintain peace and harmony. I have ordered the closure of all high schools and colleges for the next three days. All concerned are requested to cooperate,” he tweeted on Tuesday.