Hijab row: India slams ‘motivated’ OIC statement

Pro-hijab petitioners cite international court orders before HC

New Delhi/Bengaluru, Feb 15 (UNI): India on Tuesday slammed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for issuing “another motivated and misleading statement”, this time on the hijab controversy, the Haridwar hate speeches and the harassment of Muslim women on social media sites.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said OIC “continues to be hijacked by vested interests to further their nefarious propaganda against India”, and as a result it has “only harmed its own reputation”.


The MEA statement read: “We have noted yet another motivated and misleading statement from the General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on matters pertaining to India. Issues in India are considered and resolved in accordance with our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as democratic ethos and polity. The communal mindset of the OIC Secretariat does not allow for a proper appreciation of these realities. OIC continues to be hijacked by vested interests to further their nefarious propaganda against India. As a result, it has only harmed its own reputation.”

The OIC General Secretariat in a statement expressed “deep concern over recent public calls for genocide of Muslims by the ‘Hindutva’ proponents in Haridwar in the State of Uttarakhand, and reported incidents of harassment of Muslim women on social media sites as well as banning of Muslim girl students from wearing hijab in the State of Karnataka”.

The Hijab row has created ripples of protests in the country with students coming out in protest against a Karnataka university’s decision to not allow students in hijab.

Resuming his submissions before the Karnataka High Court, Congress leader and senior advocate Devadatt Kamat on Tuesday cited international court orders to make a case for allowing hijab in educational institutions.

Arguing over the absoluteness and relativity of Article 25 of the Constitution of India, Kamat, counsel for the one of the pro-hijab petitioners, cited a South African judgment which set aside expulsion of a Hindu girl with roots in South India for wearing a nose ring in school.

Kamat also referred to another South African judgment allowing Rastafarians to keep dreadlocked hair in school and a Canadian judgment allowing a Sikh student to wear a kirpan in schools. He also argued that secularism practiced in India was different from that of Turkey, which had banned the wearing of hijab in public.

“We are not Turkey which says no religious symbols can be displayed in public. That hijab ban was upheld by the court due to that. But their Constitution is completely different. Our Constitution recognises different faiths,” Kamat said.

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