Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), the RSS's Muslim wing , has backed the burqa-clad student who was heckled by youth shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans at a Karnataka college, saying ‘purdah’ is part of Indian culture.
A video of the girl, Bibi Muskan Khan, confronting the youngsters wearing saffron scarves has gone viral on social media. The group had gathered outside the college demanding a ban on hijab and burqa in educational institutions .
“She (Ms. Khan) is the daughter and sister of our community, we stand with her at this time of crisis," Anil Singh, Prant Sanchalak (Awadh) of the MRM told PTI.
In a statement, Mr. Singh said, Hindu culture teaches respecting women and those who chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans and tried to “terrorise” the girl were in the wrong. The country’s constitution gives the girl the right to wear a hijab. If the girl has violated any dress code of the institution where she is studying, only then should action be taken against her, the statement said.
Mr. Singh said, the group of boys raising ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans and heckling her is not acceptable. Those who were part of that group have defamed Hindu culture as such activities are against Hinduism.
Hijab is a type of ‘purdah’ which is a part of Indian culture and our society. Even Hindu women in our society, depending on the individual, wear ‘purdah’. If Hindu women are free to choose their dress code, the same applies with Ms. Bibi Muskan, said Mr. Singh.
“Our sarsangh chalak has said, Muslims are our brothers and the DNA of both the communities is the same. So, I appeal to all members of Hindu community to accept Muslims as their brothers and sisters," added Singh.
The MRM was set up in 2002 by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the initiative of its then chief K.S. Sudarshan to allow the sangh parivar to reach out to the Muslim community on various issues including the vexed Ayodhya Ram Temple dispute.
Protests for and against the hijab had intensified in parts of Karnataka and turned violent in some places on Tuesday after the State government last week issued an order making uniforms prescribed by it or management of private institutions mandatory for its students in schools and pre-university colleges.
The Karnataka government had on Tuesday ordered closure of all high schools and colleges in the state for three days.
On Wednesday, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi constituted a full bench, comprising himself and Justices Krishna S. Dixit and J.M. Khazi, to look into the hijab matter .
The High Court was hearing petitions filed by some Muslim girls studying in government Pre-University colleges in Udupi district against a ban on their entry into classrooms with their hijabs on.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Thursday said it would consider a submission seeking the listing of a plea for transferring the case on the hijab row from the Karnataka High Court to itself.