Pakistan on Wednesday condemned the "reprehensible act" of banning Muslim students from wearing hijab in the Indian state of Karnataka. The Foreign Office summoned Indian Charge d’ Affaires in Islamabad and conveyed to him the government of Pakistan’s grave concern over the incident.
The summon came after students at a government-run high school in the Indian state were told not to wear hijabs last month, an edict that soon spread to other educational institutions in the state. A hijab-clad student was also heckled and jeered at by a mob of Hindutva supporters in Karnataka on Tuesday.
According to a statement, the Foreign Office said that the Indian Charge d'Affaires was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was conveyed the government's "grave concern and condemnation on the deeply reprehensible act" of banning Muslim students from wearing hijab in Karnataka.
Also read: Indian students block roads as row over hijab in schools mounts
"The Charge d’ Affaires was urged to convey to the government of India Pakistan’s extreme concern over the anti-hijab campaign, being spearheaded by RSS-BJP combine in Karnataka, which is part of its larger exclusionist and majoritarian agenda aimed at dehumanising and demonising Muslim women," the statement said.
The Indian diplomat was also conveyed Pakistan's concern that religious intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatisation and discrimination against Muslims was continuing unabated almost two years after the 2020 Delhi riots, which claimed the lives of 50 Muslims.
"The government of Pakistan is also alarmed at the deafening silence of the BJP leadership and the absence of discernable action against Hindutva proponents openly calling for [the] genocide of Muslims at the recently held Dharam Sansad in Haridwar, Uttarakhand," the statement said, referring to calls for the mass killing of Muslims by Hindutva leaders in India.
It was emphasised to the Indian envoy that the government of India must fulfil its responsibility to hold the perpetrators of harassment against women in Karnataka to account and take adequate measures to ensure the safety, security and well-being of Muslim women, the statement added.
Also read: Hijab-clad Muslim student confronts RSS goons in India’s Karnataka
"He was further urged to impress upon the government of India to take immediate action against [the] perpetrators and abettors of anti-Muslim violence in [the] Indian states of Assam, Tripura, Gurugram and Uttarakhand and bring justice to the victims of [the] Delhi riots," the Foreign Office said.
Pakistan also called on the international community, including the United Nations and the organisation of Islamic Cooperation, to take notice of the "worrying level of Islamophobia in India" and prevail upon Indian authorities to prevent systematic human rights violations against minorities in the country.
Commenting over an incident, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a tweet that minorities continue to be mistreated in India. Dismissing India’s claims of being a secular democracy, he pointed out that Muslim citizens were facing restrictions on their attire. He highlighted that Muslims in India had their own culture and civilization, and must stand up for their basic human rights.
Qureshi also urged the secular minds in the neighboring country to raise their voice against the mistreatment of the Muslim minority.
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