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Hijab Row: Ramakrishna Ashram defends lawyer who represented students

Hijab Row: Ramakrishna Ashram defends lawyer who represented students

In Karwar, the Ramakrishna Ashram defended a lawyer who had been attacked for representing Muslim students in the case, and called it "unnecessary and not in the interest of peace and harmony".

According to the ashram's top priest, senior advocate Devadatt Kamat has done no disservice to the Hindu tradition by referencing Islamic scriptures in defence of students fighting for the right to wear hijab in schools and colleges.

"An unnecessary discussion is going on about the dress code of Muslim girls in schools/colleges, and, I am pained to witness a raging controversy in this regard at different levels of the Society. This is certainly not in good taste, and, not in the interest of peace and harmony in the Society," Swami Bhaveshanand said. "I am more pained to observe that the name of Shri Devadatt Kamat - Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court is being dragged in this controversy simply because he represented a party in the Court as an Advocate," he said

Several elements are accusing him of advocating against Hinduism. This is totally baseless and unfounded. A lawyer representing a client before a court has a duty to do right by that client.

Swami Bhaveshanand said, "That is our responsibility as professionals. It cannot be construed as an attack on the Hindu religion."

Mr Kamat's antecedents as a "devout follower of Shri Ramakrishna Vivekanand Philosophy" were applauded by the priest, who termed the attacks "baseless propaganda" perpetrated by some unscrupulous elements.

Mr Kamat had submitted to the Karnataka High Court on Thursday that students should not be forced to remove hijabs in schools and colleges in the city of Udupi "Our right to free expression is held at the mercy of the college development committee. The government order says that banning the headscarf is not a violation of Article 25. The GO (Government Order) isn't as harmless as it appears," Mr Kamat asserted.

In addition, he cited verses in the Quran that state that women should cover their heads in front of those other than close relatives.

The ban of Muslims wearing hijabs at a government college in Udupi had sparked a controversy in Karnataka in December, and protests and widespread closures of schools for Classes 11 and 12 followed.

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