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Rajasthan BJP MLA makes students chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, takes offence on hijab

Rajasthan BJP MLA makes students chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, takes offence on hijab

Incongruous it is when a ruling MLA visits a government school and urges students of different religious backgrounds to chant religious slogans like Jai Shri Ram, and Saraswati Mata Ki Jai and proposes a ban on the Hijab for Muslim female students, identifying it as a religious icon.

The scene was from the Government Girls Secondary School in Jaipur's Gangapol locality, where BJP MLA Balmukund Acharya from the Hawa Mahal constituency in Rajasthan found Muslim girls wearing hijabs, prompting him to suggest a ban on the hijab with the claim of bringing uniformity among students.

In a video, Acharya can be seen reprimanding the school administrators and urging them to prohibit the hijab among students. In the footage, Acharya is also seen leading chants of nationalist slogans like "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Saraswati Mata Ki Jai," raising concerns among Muslim students who later gathered to protest his actions.

The turn of events led Cabinet Minister Kirodi Lal Meena, holding the agriculture portfolio, to announce that he would ask Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma to issue an order banning the hijab in both government and private schools.

He went on to make derogatory and offensive comments against the Muslim community, suggesting that Muslims’ fanaticism was responsible for their educational backwardness. He also claimed that Muslims' thoughts were directed towards crime instead of progressiveness.

The incident sparked outrage among Muslim students who accused Acharya of disrupting the school environment and demanded an apology for his actions. They highlighted what they perceived as discriminatory treatment, pointing out Acharya's own attire, often adorned with saffron, a colour symbolizing Hinduism.

Meena criticized what he described as "appeasement politics" by the Congress party, emphasizing the need for progressive thinking and education within the Muslim community.

However, the proposal faced opposition from Congress MLA Rafeek Khan, who accused Acharya of seeking cheap publicity and warned against divisive actions that could undermine Rajasthan's communal harmony, known as Ganga Jamuni tehzeeb.

The controversy in Rajasthan mirrors a similar incident that occurred in Karnataka in December 2021, where six college students in the Udupi district were denied entry to their institution due to wearing the hijab.

The issue escalated when the BJP-led government in Karnataka issued a circular enforcing a dress code in pre-university colleges, leading to legal challenges that are now being pursued in the Supreme Court.

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TAGS:Jai Shri RamBJP MLAHijab ban
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