Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace laureate and women's rights activist, on Tuesday took to Twitter to share her horror over the ongoing hijab controversy raging in Karnataka where Muslim girls wearing the headscarves are being barred from attending classes.
Yousafzai 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, who had taken bullets from the Taliban in Pakistan in 2012 for speaking up about the rights of girls and their education, urged Indian leaders to stop marginalisation of Muslim women.
The controversy over the wearing of 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 Parmar said the government will give priority to discipline. Parmar's remark comes in the wake of a raging controversy in Karnataka, where a section of students.
Quoting a report where a Muslim student said that they were being forced to choose between studies and the hijab, Malala said, "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 marginalisation of Muslim women."
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 girls 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.
Bommai, who is in New Delhi, said, "I appeal to all the students, teachers and management of schools and colleges as well as people of Karnataka to maintain peace and harmony."