'Anybody Opposing Burqa Should Be Stripped Naked And Paraded In Public', Says Samajwadi Party Leader Zameer Ullah Khan

'Anybody Opposing Burqa Should Be Stripped Naked And Paraded In Public': Samajwadi Party's Zameer Ullah Khan Comments On Burqa-Row In UP College

by Swati Goel Sharma - Jan 20, 2023 02:05 PM +05:30 IST
'Anybody Opposing Burqa Should Be Stripped Naked And Paraded In Public': Samajwadi Party's Zameer Ullah Khan Comments On Burqa-Row In UP CollegeZameerullah Khan, former MLA from Aligarh. (Twitter).
  • Even as the petitions for the hijab rule are pending to be heard by a larger bench to be formed by the Chief Justice of India, demand for hijab has risen in many schools and colleges since the apex court verdict.

A Samajwadi Party leader in Uttar Pradesh has made a controversial statement that anybody who opposes ‘burqa’ anywhere should be stripped naked and paraded in the streets.

Zameerullah Khan, who is former MLA from Aligarh, made the statement on camera.

“Banning burqa is completely wrong. If girls want to go to college, then they should be allowed to wear it. There should be no ban on the hijab. And if someone wants to ban it, then that person should be stripped naked and paraded in public. Covering oneself is a culture in India. If you go to a village, our mothers and sisters can be found in ghunghat (veil)," said Zamirullah Khan.

Watch his statement here.

Khan was reacting to an incident on Wednesday (18 January) where some girl students of a college were turned away at the gate for wearing full-body veil (burqa).

The college management told the media that the college has a dress code in place and it must be followed. The said college is Hindu College in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district.

Men from Samajwadi Party-affiliated ‘Chhatra Sabha’ gathered at the college gate and protested the management’s decision that all students must observe the dress code. A scuffle broke out between the party workers and the college staff.

The party workers gave a memorandum to include burqa in the dress code and allow Muslim girls to wear it during classes.

On the other hand, AP Singh, the chief proctor of Hindu College, told the media, “A strict dress code has come into effect since 1 January and each student was informed in advance about it. We have decided that none of the students will be allowed entry into the premises if they are not wearing the college uniform.”

Singh said that the college had already made “special arrangements” on the campus for students to remove the burqa before entering the gate.

It is to be see how the issue is resolved in the coming days.

Last month, a similar controversy erupted at a private post-graduate degree college in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh.

After the college barred some Muslim girl students from entering classes for wearing burqa and not abiding by the uniform, videos emerged where a group of Muslim men were seen indulging in a heated spat with the college management on behalf of the women.

The incident took place in JS post-graduate College in Sikandrabad.

Demands by Muslim girl students for special privilege to wear burqa or some form of Islamic veil over and above the uniform have been going on since at least December 2021. Such demands were started by six girls at a state-run school in Udupi district of Karnataka.

The school management gave them a concession that they could wear the veil in the campus but must remove it outside classes, but the girls did not relent.

The form of veil that those girls wanted is commonly called ‘hijab’ and is a headscarf covering hair, shoulders and neck, fixed in place by pin. It is to be noted that the meaning of Arabic word hijab is a ‘curtain’ or ‘partition’.

The girls moved the Karnataka High Court demanding they be allowed to wear ‘hijab’ above and beyond the uniform as an “essential religious practice in Islam”.

Muslim girl students from some more schools and colleges then moved the court with similar pleas, after which the Karnataka High Court heard the bunch of petitions in February and March 2022. 

The court held that state-run educational institutes had the right to enforce dress code, and also held that ‘hijab’ was not an essential religious practice of Islam. 

The petitioners then moved the Supreme Court against the Karnataka High Court verdict. 

The Supreme Court delivered a split verdict where one of the two judges hearing the case dismissed the petitions, while upholding the right of the Karnataka state government to enforce uniform in the institutes, while another judge said that ‘hijab is a matter of choice’ for the students.

Even as the petitions are pending to be heard by a larger bench to be formed by the Chief Justice of India, demand for hijab has risen in many schools and colleges outside Karnataka since the apex court verdict. 

In mid-October, a minor controversy erupted in a college in Bihar after some Muslim girl students accused a Hindu male teacher of forcibly removing their ‘hijab’ during examination.

The teacher and the principal however refuted the allegations. An eye-witness student, incidentally a Muslim, supported the management, saying that all that the teacher had done was ask the girls to remove their headscarf during routine checking of any Bluetooth devices for cheating, but the girls had made it a communal issue.

In the last week of November, a hijab versus saffron row, on the same lines as Karnataka, erupted in a state-run school in West Bengal after Hindu students turned up in saffron scarves in protest of special privilege given to Muslim women to sport religious attire. 

Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.

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