India decries ‘motivated comments’ over hijab row

India decries ‘motivated comments’ over hijab row

India on Saturday denounced “motivated comments” as the hijab row, which it called “internal issue,” drew international criticism.
The External Affairs Ministry said in a statement that the dress code issue in some educational institutions in the southern Karnataka state is under judicial examination.
“Our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as our democratic ethos and polity, are the context in which issues are considered and resolved. … Motivated comments on our internal issues are not welcome,” said ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi.
The Indian statement came a day after a US government official voiced support for the Muslim girls who were barred from attending classes for wearing hijab.
“The hijab ban violates religious freedom, and stigmatize and marginalize women and girls,” US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain said on Twitter on Friday.
“Religious freedom includes the ability to choose one’s religious attire. The Indian state of Karnataka should not determine permissibility of religious clothing,” he added.
The Karnataka high court on Thursday blocked students from wearing religious garments until it makes a final ruling on the matter.
A three-judge panel was hearing the case to decide if schools and colleges can order students not to wear the hijab in classrooms.
The case will be heard again on Monday.
A group of Muslim women filed petitions against the order of the government banning the hijab on college premises. The row over hijab erupted after a college in Karnataka told students to take off their headscarves inside the classroom.
Those protesting the move cited the Constitution that allows Indians to wear clothes of their choice and display religious symbols.
According to the Constitution, every citizen has the right to practice, profess and propagate religion. The right can be curtailed only on grounds of public order, morality, and health.

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