“Respect each other,” Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu defends hijab wearing students again

Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu has spoken against the hijab ban in Karnataka’s educational institutions again at another press conference and stressed upon how a woman’s clothes should be her own choice.

Earlier she defended the rights of Muslim women who want to wear a hijab and said, “Let a girl do what she wants.”

The 22-year-old said, “It`s every girl’s own choice, so no one has the right to speak about how the girls of India should live, and how to dress.”

“Those who are doing politics on the issue, are wrong,” she added.

Sandhu further said: “Even if she is getting dominated by someone, she needs to come and speak. Let her live the way she wants to live. We are women of different cultures and we need to respect each other.”

Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu is the third entrant from India to bag the prestigious Miss Universe title. Before her, Lara Dutta and Sushmita Sen have won the coveted title.

Students have been banned from wearing hijab in schools after a verdict of the Karnataka High Court.

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused an early hearing on pleas challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict on the Karnataka government’s ban on hijabs inside educational institutions.

The Muslim girls had sought early listing of the issue citing upcoming school examinations.

The top court also declined to give any specific date to hear the petitions.

Chief Justice of India N V Ramana said: “This has nothing to do with the exams…don’t sensationalise” while responding to a request that the matter be heard next week as it would otherwise stop the girl students from appearing for their exams.

“One year will go. All these girls are being prevented from entering the school. Lordships may fix some date next week,” appearing for the petitioners, Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat said.

The Karnataka High Court three weeks before upheld the state government order effectively banning the wearing of hijab by Muslim girl students in educational institutions in Karnataka.

“Hijab is not a part of essential religious practices of Islam and thus, is not protected under Article 25 of the Constitution,” said a three-judge Bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justices Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi.

Accordingly, the Court had dismissed the petitions filed by Muslim girl students, challenging the action of government PU colleges in denying their entry for wearing hijab.

Muslim students in Karnataka have been protesting the ban on hijab in educational institutions, saying the Islamophobic move of the Karnataka government violates their religious freedom guaranteed under India’s constitution.

Muslim students, activists, and Opposition leaders across the country alleged that these attacks on Muslim symbols and practices are part of the larger Hindutva agenda of imposing majoritarian values on the country’s 200 million Muslims.

Soon after the verdict, Muslim students in Karnataka who have been fighting against hijab ban, Muslim leaders, human rights defenders, Opposition parties said the verdict is enabling discrimination against Muslim students and it suspends the fundamental rights of hijab wearing students.