Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday said it is a woman's right to decide what she wants to wear.
The right has been guaranteed by the Indian Constitution, the Congress general secretary said adding that a woman can choose to wear a bikini, a ghoonghat, a pair of jeans or a hijab. The comments come amid the ongoing hijab row in Karnataka owing to which all educations institutions have been shut for three days. Priyanka linked the issue with the Congress's poll slogan of women empowerment in Uttar Pradesh 'Ladki hoon lad sakti hoon'.
What started as a protest in a few colleges in Karnataka has become a major controversy with incidents of stone-pelting at several places in Karnataka over the hijab row. The high court will resume hearing the plea of the Muslim students seeking their right to wear the hijab inside the classroom.
The Congress has been supporting the protesting students with former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor extending their support to the cause.
"By letting students' hijab come in the way of their education, we are robbing the future of the daughters of India. Ma Saraswati gives knowledge to all. She doesn't differentiate," Rahul had tweeted earlier.
Amid the ongoing row, a video of a hijab-clad student being heckled by a group of boys has gone viral on social media. Women's right activist Malala Yousafzai reacted to the video and said it is horrifying that girls in hijab are being forced to choose between studies and the hijab.
BJP's Amit Malviya on Wednesday tweeted, "Is the right to wear a hijab a Constitutional right? Religious freedom under Art 25 is subject to Constitutional morality and the State can legitimately restrict it on grounds of public order and morality. What if women in uniformed services start demanding right to wear hijab?"
"The first word in Quran is Iqra, which means to read. But what we are seeing in Karnataka is anything but quest for knowledge. Young girls, in the name of faith, are being asked to choose hijab over education. The ghettoisation seen so far in minority institutions is spilling," Malviya said.