Foreign Office urges global community to take notice of Islamophobia in India and prevail upon Delhi to halt human rights violations against minorities
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday summoned Indian Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad Suresh Kumar to convey the Government of Pakistan’s grave concern and condemnation of the “deeply reprehensible act” of banning Muslim students from wearing hijab in the Indian state of Karnataka.
According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, the Charge d’Affaires was urged to convey Islamabad’s concerns to Delhi over the anti-hijab campaign being spearheaded by RSS-BJP combine in Karnataka. Describing it as part of the BJP’s “larger exclusionist and majoritarian agenda aimed at dehumanizing and demonizing Muslim women,” it said Kumar had also been urged to convey Pakistan’s concern over the continued “religious intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization and discrimination against Muslims” nearly two years after the horrific Delhi riots that claimed the lives of 50 Muslims in February 2020.
“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 genocide of Muslims at the recently held Dharam Sansad in Haridwar, Uttarakhand,” it said, adding that Delhi must fulfill its responsibility to hold the perpetrators of harassment against women in Karnataka to account and take adequate measures to ensure safety, security and well-being of Muslim women.
The Indian Charge d’Affaires, read the statement, was also 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.
“Pakistan also calls upon the international community, including the United Nations and OIC [Organization for Islamic Cooperation], especially their human rights machinery, to take cognizance of the worrying level of Islamophobia in India and prevail upon Indian authorities to prevent systematic human rights violations against minorities in the country,” it stressed.
Separately, in a posting on Twitter, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also lashed out at India over the intimidation of Muslim women who wear the hijab. “Depriving Muslim girls of education is a grave violation of fundamental human rights. To deny anyone this fundamental right and terrorize them for wearing a hijab is absolutely oppressive,” he said. “[The] world must realize this is part of the Indian state’s plan of ghettoization of Muslims,” he added.
On Tuesday, a video of a hijab-clad Indian woman, Muskan, being harassed by rightwing Indian men outside her college went viral on social media. The video shows Muskan walking past the crowd screaming against the hijab before loudly chanting “Allah Hu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest) and proceeding to class. In an interview, the girl said the crowd had tried to get her to remove her hijab and was blocking her entry, but stressed that the college staff had intervened and supported her.
Since the video went public, hundreds of students in Kolkata have taken to the streets to protest the ban and demand its removal, stressing it is their right to wear the clothing they choose without any state interference.