Motivated comments on internal issues not welcome: MEA on hijab row

MiEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that those who know India well, would have a proper appreciation of the realities

Bagchi’s response came when asked by the media about comments by some countries on dress code in some educational institutions in Karnataka

India rejected criticism by some countries over the simmering dress code row in certain educational institutions in Karnataka and said that “motivated comments” on the country’s internal issues are not welcomed.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Saturday that those who know India well, would have a proper appreciation of the realities.

“A matter regarding dress code in some educational institutions in the state of Karnataka is under judicial examination by the High Court of Karnataka,” Bagchi said.

“Our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as our democratic ethos and polity, are the context in which issues are considered and resolved. Those who know India well, would have a proper appreciation of these realities. Motivated comments on our internal issues are not welcome,” Bagchi said.

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Bagchi’s response came when asked by the media about comments by some countries on dress code in some educational institutions in Karnataka.

US Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom (IRF) Rashad Hussain on Friday said that hijab bans in schools “violate religious” freedom.

Also read: Hijab row: SC’s word of caution & parents’ concern over phone number leak

“Religious freedom includes the ability to choose one’s religious attire. The Indian state of Karnataka should not determine permissibility of religious clothing. Hijab bans in schools violate religious freedom and stigmatize and marginalize women and girls,” Hussain tweeted.

Pakistan summoned India’s Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad and conveyed its concern on the restrictions on Muslim girl students from wearing hijab or wearing headscarves in Karnataka on Wednesday.

The Pakistan Foreign Office said that the Indian diplomat was conveyed its deep concern over what it alleged as religious intolerance and discrimination against Muslims in India.

The hijab row started a few weeks back, after a few girl students in hijabs were denied entry into a government pre-university college in Udupi. Following the incident, protests erupted against the hijab ban in various parts of the state.

Also read: Karnataka HC restrains students from wearing hijab, saffron shawls in class

The Karnataka High Court has restrained all students from wearing any sort of religious dress within the classroom in the state, regardless of their religion or faith, until further orders on pleas challenging the ban in educational institutions with a dress code.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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