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Muslim women of India have held hijab 'as part of their identity for centuries'

By Anis Ahmed* 

The National Executive Council meeting of Popular Front of India held at Malappuram has, in a resolution, stated that the organization would stand by the struggles of Karnataka Muslim girl students against the Hijab ban in schools and colleges in the state. The Karnataka BJP Government's decision to introduce restrictions exclusively on Muslim religious markers clearly had divisive political motives behind it.
Unfortunately, the High Court failed to see it and took a stand against a practice Muslim women in the country has held as part of their identity for centuries. The order of the court validating the Hijab ban was against the constitutional values and the universal principle of freedom of religion.
The decision of the High Court will further encourage social exclusion and become another pretext for religious persecution. Popular Front stands with the struggles of the students who have decided to question the high court order in the apex court and carry their fight forward till they get justice.
In another resolution, the NEC of Popular Front has demanded an end to the government-sponsored Islamophobia in the name of the movie 'Kashmir Files'. The movie by Vivek Agnihotri that was recommended by the Prime Minister himself and promoted by BJP ruled states with tax exemptions has turned out to be more than just a movie.
The dramatic incidents after the release of the movie indicate that it was part of another organized anti-Muslim propaganda. By distorting facts of the Kashmir issue in favour of the Hindutva narrative, the movie is stoking the flames of hatred against the Muslim community and BJP's political opponents. The country has never seen a government itself going out of its way to promote a movie.
It is government-sponsored Islamophobia in the name of Vivek Agnihotri's movie Kashmir Files
There were several incidents that, having watched the movie, mobs in the theatres abused Muslims and even called for genocide. The BJP is taking refuge in extreme hate propaganda to suppress the key political questions. Popular Front appeals to the judiciary in the country to take cognizance of the situation and to put an end to the government-sponsored hate-mongering against Muslims.
In another resolution, the NEC of Popular Front condemned the lynching incidents in UP. This week alone there were two lynching incidents in Uttar Pradesh, in which one Muslim was killed and two got injured. The anti-Muslim sentiment was wilfully created in the state prior to the election through poisonous campaigns. Now innocents are paying the price for it. It's high time that the people's conscience in the country faced the reality of mob lynching as a social evil and exert pressure for a law to counter it.
In another resolution, the NEC expressed shock over the horrific violence in Birbhum in West Bengal that has already left several people dead. If reports are to be believed, after the first killing took place, police failed to act in time and deter the mob that went on to kill eight innocents including a woman and a child. This is a law and order failure. Popular Front demand an impartial investigation into the incident and bring all the culprits to book.
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*General Secretary, Popular Front of India, New Delhi

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