Karnataka hijab row: 2,000 intellectuals write open letter in solidarity with Muslim students
The signatories in the open letter, endorsed by over 130 groups across 15 states, have stated that the Indian Constitution mandates schools and collages to nurture plurality.
NEW DELHI: “The ban on hijab in classrooms and campuses in coastal Karnataka, which is now spreading to other states, is a hate crime”, said over 2000 intellectuals through an open letter on Thursday.
The intellectuals, who are working as lawyers, journalists, academicians, and woman-right activists, said they are in solidarity with the Muslim women who are protesting the ban on hijab. They further said the restrictions on wearing hijab in classrooms and campuses are only the latest pretext to impose ‘apartheid’ on Muslim women.
The signatories in the open letter, endorsed by over 130 groups across 15 states, have stated that the Indian Constitution mandates schools and colleges to nurture plurality. “Uniform in such institutions is meant to minimize the differences between students. They are not intended to impose cultural uniformity on a plural country,” the signatories of the open letter stated.
Kavita Krishnan of AIPWA, who is leading the solidarity movement, said making hijabi women sit in separate classrooms or moving them from the colleges of their choice to Muslim-run colleges is nothing but “apartheid”.
She along with other signatories of the letter alleged that the "Hindu supremacist" groups in coastal Karnataka have since 2008 been unleashing violence to ensure such "apartheid".
“We are appalled that the Karnataka Home Minister has ordered an investigation into the phone records of hijab-wearing Muslim women to ‘probe their link’ with ‘terror groups, the open letter further stated adding that Muslim women wearing hijab are now being treated as conspirators.
The signatories declared: “Educational institutions should pay attention to what is inside students' heads and not what’s on them. We stand with every woman who is told that she can not enter college because she is wearing jeans or shorts or hijab”.
All the signatories demanded stern action against the organisation and individuals who led and were part of the mob that heckled a Muslim girl in Mandya. They also appealed to the students and citizens all over the country to resist any attempt to impose misogynistic and Islamophobic dress codes on students.
Prominent amongst other signatories of the open letter are Kavita Srivastava (People’s Union for Civil Liberties), Kavita Krishnan (AIPWA), Asha Pandey (lawyer), Abhiti Gupta(feminist) Cedric Prakash (human right activist), Akash Bhattacharya (All India Peoples’ Forum), Clifton D’ Rozario (All India Lawyers Association for Justice) and Abha Dev Habib (Democratic Teachers’ Front).