More than a thousand feminists, academicians, lawyers, activists, democratic groups and collectives from various backgrounds have written an open letter condemning the exclusion of hijab-wearing Muslim women from schools and colleges. They said that picking out on Muslim women over wearing a headscarf sacred to their religion was the latest pretext to target them.
Plurality Over Uniformity
The letter was signed by more than 1,850 prominent personalities, who have put forth their belief that the Constitution mandated schools and colleges to nurture plurality over uniformity.
The signatories said that the purpose of the uniform was to minimise or remove the differences between students of different and unequal economic classes. The institutions were not meant to impose cultural uniformity in a plural country.
They quoted the example of Sikhs, for whom a Turban is sacred. They're allowed to wear turbans in the classroom, institutions, security forces and the Army. The Hindu people wear bindi/pottu/tilak/Vibhuti with school and college uniforms, and there are no objections.
The same way, Muslim women wearing hijabs with their uniforms should not be questioned, they added.
Hate Crimes By Supremacist Perpetrators
It is appalling to see excluding hijabi women and making them sit in separate classrooms or shifting from colleges of their choice to Muslim-run colleges, the letter read. There the country is witnessing a steady rise in Islamophobic incidents.
"Supremacist groups in coastal Karnataka have, since 2008, been unleashing violence to enforce such apartheid, attacking togetherness between Hindu and Muslim classmates. Equally violent attacks have accompanied such violence on Hindu women who visit pubs, wear 'western' clothes, or love/marry Muslim men. The same supremacist perpetrators are doing Islamophobic and other hate crimes against Muslim and Hindu women," Hindustan Times quoted the letter.
Groups In Support Of Muslim Women
According to the report, the letter also included signatures of 130 groups across 15 states, including All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), National Federation of Indian Women, Bebaak Collective, Saheli Women's Resource Centre, All India Progressive Women's Association, Awaaz-e-Nissan, etc.