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Injudicious Endeavor on Forbiding Civil Rights

Tisa Sara Philip writes, the demand for Burqa ban throws a challenge to Indian diversity and its fundamental values. Indian society being culturally and ethnically vast and diverse than Sri Lanka, it is not easy to imitate any such policies.

The Shiv Sena has demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban burqa across the country as it poses a threat to the national security. This controversial demand of Shiv Sena following the burqa ban in Sri Lanka is gaining fire in the Indian society. The statement has brought about questions on the basic principle of secularism on which India functions.  The acquisition that Shiv Sena makes on the Muslim population is hurting the Islamic religious sentiments all together. Generalising the entire Muslim Population to be terrorists was a trend that did exist in the Indian society since a long period.  The international human rights law does give provisions to restrict religious freedom and expression of any person including clothing but only on reasonable grounds.

Shiv Sena was demanding this recommendation to be made an emergency taking into consideration the difficulties faced by the security forces to identify terrorists. There are differing opinions from inside the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).  An MP of the BJP opposes the demands by saying that not all burqa-clad women are terrorists, and that burqa is their tradition and they have the right to wear it. Together with the controversial statements made by the Shiv Sena, the Agra mayor Naveen Jain also calls for a ban on burqa and people view this as derogatory as well as conceives it as his insensitivity. Mayor being a Bharata Janata Party member is anti-Muslim and that can be one reason why such opinion is generated. While making such statements one has to give thought to several instances like, a man wears burqa in a railway station on the fear of being lynched. The insecurities among the people also need to be taken into consideration while making such demands.

High court of Delhi dismisses the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the ban on burqa and other veils in public places on the grounds of them being a threat to national security. This was done by a bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Sangeeta Dhingra and they said that the issue involved a policy decision. Furthermore, even the Supreme Court judgement on privacy also clearly states that the choice of wearing burqa or any religious clothing is a Fundamental Right and that it cannot be curbed on any basis. Besides, Supreme Court also states that “it is a violation of the Model code of conduct, aimed at creating polarization before the elections”.

The Indian society being culturally and ethnically vast and diverse than Sri Lanka, it is not easy to imitate any such policies as it might create separatism among the people. Apart from all this, the intention of the Shiv Sena also has to be doubted whether it is based on communal politics or not. But at the end of the day it is not feasible for the Indian society to hurt the feelings of one religious community which might lead its way to another partition.


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