On Monday in Jaipur, dozens of Muslim female students protested against Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Balmukund Acharya, who objected to students wearing hijabs at a government school in Rajasthan.
”Hijab is our honour,” the students chanted.
During a visit to a school in the Gangapol area, the MLA representing Hawa Mahal constituency had asked school authorities to prohibit students from wearing hijabs. A video captures him addressing a school administrator regarding students wearing the headscarf.
On a stage in another video, Acharya is seen leading students in chanting slogans like “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Saraswati Mata Ki Jai.” “Some girls are not chanting it,” he remarked. “Have you been asked not to?”
Following the incident, Muslim students and their parents went to a police station, demanding that the Hindutva politician be stopped from “vitiating the atmosphere in schools” and that he apologise for his actions. The Muslims left after a compromise with the police.
“Acharya asked us to raise religious slogans and when some girls remained silent, he said they were instructed to do so. He also said wearing hijab in school is not allowed,” one of the students told NDTV.
“He goes to the Assembly wearing a saffron robe. So why this discrimination against the hijab?” the news channel quoted another student as saying.
BJP minister Kirori Lal Meena joined the anti-Muslim campaign, claiming that hijab is a “symbol of slavery” brought in by the Mughals. “Hijab is not allowed in some Islamic nations. It should not happen here,” he said.
Meena has said that he will talk to Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma about implementing a ban on hijab in all government and private schools.
“Because of the fanaticism in the Muslim community, and because of the appeasement politics by the Congress, the community has not been able to progress,” Meena alleged. “They have a lack of education, so there should be propagation of education and the Muslim community should have progressive thinking. Instead, their thinking is more towards crime. The dress code in schools should be followed.”
Congress MLA Amin Kagazi accused Acharya and other Hindutva leaders of destroying the communal harmony of the city. “If no action is taken by February 2, the protests will begin again,” he said.