Friday, December 1, 2023

Hijab row, conversion bid: Are women the new target of communal forces?

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An ongoing row on dress code in a Karnataka government school and the recent death by suicide of a 17-year-old girl in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur district are the latest cases where it appears vested groups have attempted to further their divisive communal causes using women.

Lavanya, who lost her life to a suicide attempt, was allegedly harassed and physically assaulted by her hostel warden for not converting to Christianity. Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai shared a video on Twitter where Lavanya, in the Tamil language, purportedly accused the school officials of coercing her to convert to Christianity. Lavanya’s relatives have claimed that she had consumed pesticides after facing pressure on the said issue from her hostel warden.

In Karnataka, speaking on the controversy over a government college not allowing entry to Muslim students wearing Hijab, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, BC Nagesh, has said that nobody has had any problem with the school uniform for over three decades. According to an India Today report, Nagesh stated, “The same six girls had been OK till 1.5 years ago. They have been suddenly provoked.”

The Karnataka state general secretary of Popular Front of India, Nasir Pasha issued statements regarding the Hijab controversy and said, “Some colleges are creating unwarranted controversies around the topic of headscarves and violating the fundamental, religious freedom of Muslims.”

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