Amidst the ongoing hijab controversy in Karnataka, state education minister B C Nagesh said on Tuesday that women from minority communities are being seen as vote banks.
Nagesh made the comment on being asked about the protests in Iran against hijab following the death of young woman in the custody of morality police vis-à-vis the uproar in support of girl students wearing the head scarf inside educational institutions in Karnataka.
“In India many things become political and we see women from the community as vote bank. Only after Modi came to power he started reforms among them,” he told News18.
Nagesh said India continued to have triple talaq practice even after several Islamic countries banned it and the Congress viewed women as vote bank.
“Some people have forced Hijab and are saying it’s a religious practice. It’s vote bank politics,” the minister said.
The Karnataka government’s order of February 5, 2022 by which it banned wearing clothes that disturb equality, integrity, and public order in schools and colleges, was referred to in the apex court.
Challenging the February 5 order of the government, the petitioners had argued before the high court that wearing the Islamic headscarf was an innocent practice of faith and an essential religious practice and not a display of religious jingoism.
Later on March 15 high court held that wearing hijab is not a part of the essential religious practice which can be protected under Article 25 of the Constitution. Several pleas have been filed at the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s verdict.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, arguing for petitioners, said on Monday that the country has been built on liberal traditions and religious beliefs and the kind of atmosphere being seen today was far removed from being called liberal which we have been for 5,000 years.
“You (the state authority) are passing this resolution ostensibly saying uniform. Actually it is for some other purpose. The whole idea is that how do I tell the minority community that you are not allowed to profess your beliefs, you are not allowed to follow your conscience. You will do what I tell you,” Dave said.
“We have not hurt anybody’s sentiments by wearing hijab. Our identity is hijab,” he asserted. The senior advocate said the Constitution has always been interpreted liberally and never in a restrictive sense, and the scope and ambit of Articles 19 and 21 have been expanded in every possible way.
While Article 19 of the Constitution deals with protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc, Article 21 pertains to protection of life and personal liberty.
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