BHOPAL: Amid demand over ban on burqa (loose garment covering the whole body from head to feet worn by Muslim women), noted lyricist Javed Akhtar on Thursday advocated ban it as well as ghoonghat (a veil or headscarf worn by some married Hindu, Sikh and Jain women).
The Shiv Sena on Wednesday in its mouth-piece "Saamana" called for a ban on the burqa at public places.
Reacting to the call, Akhtar said: "All women in my family have been professionals. My mother taught at Hamidiya Collage of Bhopal. I have never seen the burqa at my home. That's why my knowledge about it is brief."
"There is a controversy over the burqa. Iran is a hardliner Muslim country, but women don't cover their faces there. A new law in Sri Lanka bars women from covering their faces. Whatever is your attire, the face should be visible," he said.
"If someone wants this kind of law here, and if this is somebody's opinion I don't have any objection. But before the end of last phase of (Lok Sabha) elections, the government must announce that no woman will be allowed to use ghoonghat in Rajasthan," Akhtar said.
Akhtar said: "Faces covered with the burqa or the ghoonghat, it's same. If both would be removed, I would be happy".
Meanwhile, taking a swipe at BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Javed Akhtar said that just because a person dresses like a sant doesn't necessarily mean the person is a sant. "Don't go by her appearance. Just because a person looks like a sant doesn't mean the person is a sant. Don't forget that when Ravana came to abduct Sita, he too was dressed like a sant," he said while addressing a press conference here.
Thakur is among the seven accused, facing trial in Malegaon blast case in which six people were killed and a dozen others were injured when a bomb placed on a motorcycle exploded on September 29, 2008.
Stating that BJP's selection of candidate shows the party thinks the people of Bhopal are insignificant, Akhtar said: "BJP is full of good people. Yet she is what you chose for Bhopal? You (BJP) should have looked for a place which is inhabited by illiterate, communal people and made her contest from there."
Akhtar also asserted that a democracy can only flourish if there is a clear demarcation between the state and religion. "It is your religion. Keep it to yourself and be happy. Don't mix it with politics. You can pick up a world and see that in the countries where state and religion work together, democracy can never work. Look at the Middle-East and Latin America," he said.
Akhtar praised BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but he clearly stated that he dislikes Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his "assistant" Amit Shah.
When asked if he sees Rahul Gandhi as a PM candidate, he promptly said: "No." "Till now Rahul hasn't done anything to prove that he can be a good PM," said Akhtar.
So far six Lok Sabha seats of Madhya Pradesh have gone to polls, while remaining 23 will go to polls during three phases of the polling on May 6, 12, and 19. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.
(With inputs from IANS and ANI)