Iranian women  cutting their hair and burning their hijabs to protest the suspicious death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. (Photos | Twitter)
Iranian women cutting their hair and burning their hijabs to protest the suspicious death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. (Photos | Twitter)

Iranian women chop off their hair, burn hijabs in protest; read to know why

Headscarves are compulsory for women in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and members of the morality police enforce the strict dress code.

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16 following a mob attack in the capital city of Tehran has triggered protests in Iran, with women taking to the streets and adopting unique methods to bring to the spotlight the repression women face in the Islamic nation.

Videos from the protests that are on social media show demonstrators shouting anti-government slogans. Iranian forces are also seen using tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

Activists are cutting their hair and burning their hijabs, as seen in visuals shared on social media.

Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad tweeted: "Iranian women show their anger by cutting their hair and burning their hijab to protest against the killing of #Mahsa_Amini by hijab police. From the age of 7 if we don't cover our hair we won't be able to go to school or get a job. We are fed up with this gender apartheid regime."

Videos on social media also showed protestors raising slogans like "Woman, Life, Freedom”. and "Death to the dictator" (Ali Khamenei).

On Friday, Mahsa suffered a heart attack after being detained by the notorious morality police. She was accused of not following Iran's strict dress code for women.

Mahsa Amini was in a comatose condition for three days after she was released from the custody of the morality police, the unit responsible for enforcing the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women, which include the compulsory wearing of the headscarf in public.

The police has denied social media allegations that she was beaten, and claimed that she had fallen ill as she waited with other detained women who had been taken to a police station for "instruction" on the dress code on Tuesday.

Tehran police insisted in a statement on Friday that "there was no physical encounter" between officers and Amini.

"She suddenly fainted while with other visitors in the hall," the statement said.

It is not yet clear what happened between her arriving at the police station and her departure for hospital. The 1500tavsir channel which monitors violations in Iran said she had suffered a blow to the head.

Images posted on social media showed crowds gathering outside the hospital where she was being treated and police seeking to disperse the dozens who had gathered.

Earlier, President Ebrahim Raisi ordered the interior minister to open an inquiry into Amini's case.

Hailing from the northwestern Kurdistan province, Amini was on a visit with her family to Tehran when she was detained on September 13.

Headscarves are compulsory for women in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and members of the morality police enforce the strict dress code.

Amini's death comes amid growing controversy both inside and outside Iran over the conduct of the morality police, known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad (Guidance Patrol).

In July, a video of a woman standing in front of one of the force's vans pleading for her daughter's release went viral on social media.

The veiled woman kept holding on to the van as it pulled off, only being thrown clear after it gathered speed.

Also in July, a young Iranian woman, Sepideh Rashno, disappeared after becoming involved in a dispute on a Tehran bus with another woman who accused her of removing her headscarf.

She was held by the Revolutionary Guards and appeared on television in what activists said was a forced confession before being released on bail in late August.

Activists accuse Iran of being in the throes of a major crackdown that is affecting all areas of society, including a new push against the Bahai religious minority, death sentences for gays, a surge in executions and arrests of foreign nationals.

Raisi plans to travel to New York for the UN General Assembly next month where he is set to face intense scrutiny over Iran's human rights record.

(With AFP inputs)

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