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Karnataka HC order on hijab will provide legitimacy to Hindu supremacists: NAPM

By Our Representative 

India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), "saluting" Muslim women for showing courage by resisting the "apartheid" attitude of the Hindu supremacist attempts to deprive them of access to education, has insisted that the state must "uphold" the Constitutional right to education, faith and non-discrimination.
Asking the authorities to initiate strict action against the the saffron brigade seeking to create an atmosphere of Islamophobia and majoritarian violence, in a statement, NAPM said, "The ban on hijabs in classes, the impunity of a saffron-scarf clad mob of men targeting a woman based on her attire, are only the latest instances in a long line of state-supported violations of the agency and autonomy of women."
Pointing out that the saffron "violence" falls in line with the "deplorable attempt to silence vocal Muslim women through Bulli Bai and Sulli Deals apps, and leave no doubt about the growing culture of intolerance and apartheid, NAPM criticised the Karnataka High Court order which seeks to prohibit all religious attires in educational institutions.
"Instead of immediately upholding the constitutional rights of the aggrieved women students, we are appalled to note that a three judge bench, while ordering reopening of educational institutions, has refrained all students, 'regardless of their religion or faith, from wearing saffron shawls (bhagwa), scarfs, hijab, religious flags or the like within the classroom, until further orders'."
"This order has rightly faced immense critique from various quarters, as it flies in the face of the fundamental rights of the wronged Muslim women and shifts the onus onto them, from the right-wing groups", NAPM said.
It apprehends, "We fear that in a supposed attempt to 'maintain peace', the interim order provides legitimacy to the demands of Hindutva organisations, effectively violating the rights of many more Muslim women students in educational institutions across the State. This is a totally unhealthy precedent and needs to be immediately rectified by the Court."
NAPM underlined, "An interim order like this will in fact ensure that the protesting students cannot enter the class till final orders of the Court, which is a gross miscarriage of justice. It is therefore essential that the High Court urgently directs all institutions to maintain the status quo prior to January 1, 2022, until the issue is settled."
In a separate statement, the civil rights group, Humanism Project, has taken strong objection to the Karnataka Home Minister ordering an investigation into the phone records of hijab-wearing Muslim women, especially “probe their links” with “terrorism groups”.
It said, "Until recently, Muslims were being criminalised and accused of 'terrorism' and 'conspiracy' for protesting a discriminatory citizenship law. Now, Muslim women wearing the hijab are being targeted, that too in a country where women of many Hindu and Sikh communities cover their heads in much the same way, for much the same reasons."

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