Kerala Muslim girl refuses burqa, wears jeans

Rayana R Khasi, an aeronautical engineer from Kasargod often sports jeans despite constant threats to her life.
A burqa clad woman. EPS
A burqa clad woman. EPS

KASARGOD: An aeronautical engineer by qualification and preparing for the civil services exam, a 23-year-old Muslim girl here refuses to wear the burqa and often sports jeans despite constant threats to her life.

Rayana R. Khasi, a resident of Kasargode, 600 km from state capital Thiruvananthapuram, has handed over the threat letters she received to the police.

Rayana has the full support of her family. She has had police protection since Aug 17, thanks to a court order, after increased threats in the last two months.

'Is it not my right to decide what I should wear? I studied in Chennai and now I am preparing for my civil service examinations. It is for convenience that I use jeans and I have covered everything that has to be fully covered,' a peeved Rayana told IANS.

She spoke to IANS just after a visit to the local police station to hand over two anonymous letters saying she would be killed if she continued to defy the burqa.

Trouble started after her return from Chennai around this time last year. She was in Chennai for four and a half years to complete her aeronautical engineering course and then stayed on for six more months for civil services exam coaching.

Whne she came back, first there were polite pleas from her relatives to wear the traditional Muslim attire.

'Then my neighbours started advising me and since then there have had anonymous callers on my mobile telling me they will have no choice but to kill me because I continue to defy the burqa,' said Rayana.

Rayana is unfazed as she has the complete support of her parents and four younger sisters.

'My father is a businessman and when he is short of money, it is my mother who comes to his help by giving her gold ornaments. And that is when she resorts to wearing the burqa so that no one can see that she doesn't have her jewellery!

'My sisters also support me because they know I have not done any wrong,' said Rayana, who has Malayalam and geography as subjects in her final exam.

Balakrishnan, the Kasargode police station circle inspector, said: 'She has handed over the letters to us and we have begun investigations.

'We are unable to trace the callers who call from private numbers. Now she has given one number from which she received a threat call and in the next one or two days we will trace the caller and action will be taken,' said Balakrishnan.

Balakrishnan however said they have nothing to prove that the callers belong to the Popular Front of India (PFI), a radical Muslim outfit that has been in the news for chopping off the palm of a college teacher in Muvattupuzha.

Rayana is putting up a brave face. Despite constant threats in the last two months, she is trying her best to concentrate on her studies for the examination next month.

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