Amid the widespread uproar as Muslim students are not being allowed to wear Hijab in colleges in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace laureate, and women’s rights activist, condemned the move and termed it horrifying.
Her statement comes as escalating protests over the recent hijab ban in colleges in the state appeared to spiral out of control, with incidents of stone-pelting and lathicharge being reported in several districts.
Malala said refusing to let girls go to school in their hijab is horrifying, adding objectification of women continued in one way or the other – for wearing less or more. The Nobel laureate urged the Indian political leaders to stop marginalization of Muslim women.
“Refusing to let girls go to school in their hijabs is horrifying. Objectification of women persists — for wearing less or more. Indian leaders must stop the marginalization of Muslim women,” Malala tweeted.
The controversy over the wearing of the hijab (headscarves) by students crossed the state borders of Karnataka and surfaced in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh. Supporting the ban on Hijab, Madhya Pradesh School Education Minister Inder Singh
Earlier in the day, the Basavaraj Bommai-led government in Karnataka ordered the closure of schools for three days as protests spread across the state over the issue.
Campuses witnessed ‘conflict-like’ situations marked by stone-pelting, use of force by police and Muslim students standing their ground for wearing the headscarves, prompting calls for peace and calm both by the government and the high court, that is hearing a plea from the students over their right to wear the hijab.
The confrontations began after a government college in Karnataka’s Udupi district banned students from wearing hijab inside the classroom.
Seven students who resisted the ban were denied entry. Since then, protests have spread across the state, with some Hindu students and fringe groups launching their own counter-agitations donning saffron shawls and headdresses.