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“Happened in Ravan’s Lanka; When Will It Happen in Ram’s Ayodhya?”: Shiv Sena on Burqa Ban

SabrangIndia 02 May 2019
Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamna’, in an editorial on wednesday, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to impose a ban on the burqa in the interest of “national security”, stirring a row within the religious and political fraternity. This comes after Sri Lanka banned any kind of face-covering veil following Easter Sunday’s serial blasts that killed over 253 people.

SHIV SENA BURKHA BAN

The editorial said, “India, especially Jammu and Kashmir, has suffered due to Islamic terror. Countries such as Sri Lanka, France, Britain, New Zealand have taken tough steps, the question is when will India do it.” It asked, “Why is India lagging behind?” when countries have taken steps to ban the burqa after terrorist attacks. It added that scores of young Muslim girls wanted to get rid of the tradition to cover their face in public.

The editorial accused many Muslims of not having “understood the true meaning of their religion (Islam)”. It said that they had confused it with traditions and customs like burqa, polygamy, triple talaq and resistance to family planning. “For instance, when any voice is raised against these practices, immediately there are cries of ‘Islam is in danger’. The order of preference among Muslims is religion taking precedence over nationalism. Muslim women have been sporting burqas/veils under the wrong impression that it is a Quranic tenet,” the editorial said.

As if linking the barbaric act of terrorism to a particular religion (Islam) wasn’t enough, the editorial went on to ask why India (land of Ram - the Hindu god) couldn’t take this courageous step, if Sri Lanka (land of Ravana- the demon in Hindu mythology) could do it. It said, “when it could be done in Ravan’s Lanka, when will it happen in Ram’s Ayodhya?,” further toying with the issues of Ayodhya and India as the land of Hindus- two major talking points in this election. Notably, Shiv Sena has allied with the right-wing Hindutva party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is infamous for its anti-Islamic stand and its polarisation strategies.

Union Minister and BJP’s candidate from Begusarai, Giriraj Singh, has supported Shiv Sena’s demand. Singh said, “In the country and all over the world several blasts have occurred in the guise of burqa. The burqa should be banned particularly at the time of elections. The Shiv Sena has demanded nothing wrong.” Singh has stirred controversies in the past as well due to his communal and outrageous remarks.

Though Shiv Sena’s president Uddhav Thackeray has dissociated himself and his party from this sensitive issue, senior Sena leader and executive editor, Sanjay Raut, has justified the editorial saying it is in line with Bal Thackeray’s views on national security. Raut, in the editorial, said that the current government had taken a decision to do away with Triple Talaq to save Muslim women from exploitation. Now, PM Modi will have to take a decision (on burqa ban) which will be “as courageous as the decision to conduct a surgical strike.” Adding further, he said, “We welcome the Sri Lankan government’s decision, and demand that PM Narendra Modi should take cue from it and clamp a ban on burqa in India in the national interest.”

However, the editorial has drawn sharp rebuttals from Muslim leaders as well as from the party itself. AIMIM chief, Asaduddin Owaisi, has condemned this demand and have urged the Election Commission (EC) to take note of this. “I request the EC to take cognisance of this article because it is trying to create divisions and polarisation within society. This is a grave violation of the Model Code of Conduct.”

Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena’s spokesperson, said “Today’s editorial has neither been discussed nor been announced by Uddhavji and thus it may be a personal opinion of the editor on the current affairs in Sri Lanka, but is not endorsed by the party president or the party.”

BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said that there is no need for any such ban as “Under PM Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is safe.”

Ramdas Athawale, president of the Republican Party of India- BJP’s ally, strongly came out against the Sena and said, “Not all women who wear burqa are terrorists, it is their custom and right too. There should not be such a ban on burqa in India.”

It is to be noted that Sena’s editorial emphasizes on the ban in Sri Lanka as the rationale behind its own demand. However, Sri Lanka has banned any face-covering garment, with no explicit mention of the burqa or niqab, so that the terrorists  cannot hide their identity through any means. Contrarily, Sena’s editorial has directly asked for a burqa ban which clearly reflects the party’s ideology and continues to other the Muslim community.

While there is a heated debate over the correlation between burqa ban and national security, the authorities fail to take cognisance of this rigid patriarchal practice which curbs women’s right to choose and their right over their own body. Such bans or arguments over such bans only create communal disharmony with the issues of terrorism and women’s individuality getting ignored.

Related Articles:
  1. Ban on Veils for ‘Public Safety’: Presidential Order post-Easter Attacks in Sri Lanka

  2. Burqa comments like Boris Johnson’s are pushing Muslims to reassert their identity

  3. Why Morocco’s burqa ban is more than just a security measure

“Happened in Ravan’s Lanka; When Will It Happen in Ram’s Ayodhya?”: Shiv Sena on Burqa Ban

Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamna’, in an editorial on wednesday, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to impose a ban on the burqa in the interest of “national security”, stirring a row within the religious and political fraternity. This comes after Sri Lanka banned any kind of face-covering veil following Easter Sunday’s serial blasts that killed over 253 people.

SHIV SENA BURKHA BAN

The editorial said, “India, especially Jammu and Kashmir, has suffered due to Islamic terror. Countries such as Sri Lanka, France, Britain, New Zealand have taken tough steps, the question is when will India do it.” It asked, “Why is India lagging behind?” when countries have taken steps to ban the burqa after terrorist attacks. It added that scores of young Muslim girls wanted to get rid of the tradition to cover their face in public.

The editorial accused many Muslims of not having “understood the true meaning of their religion (Islam)”. It said that they had confused it with traditions and customs like burqa, polygamy, triple talaq and resistance to family planning. “For instance, when any voice is raised against these practices, immediately there are cries of ‘Islam is in danger’. The order of preference among Muslims is religion taking precedence over nationalism. Muslim women have been sporting burqas/veils under the wrong impression that it is a Quranic tenet,” the editorial said.

As if linking the barbaric act of terrorism to a particular religion (Islam) wasn’t enough, the editorial went on to ask why India (land of Ram - the Hindu god) couldn’t take this courageous step, if Sri Lanka (land of Ravana- the demon in Hindu mythology) could do it. It said, “when it could be done in Ravan’s Lanka, when will it happen in Ram’s Ayodhya?,” further toying with the issues of Ayodhya and India as the land of Hindus- two major talking points in this election. Notably, Shiv Sena has allied with the right-wing Hindutva party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is infamous for its anti-Islamic stand and its polarisation strategies.

Union Minister and BJP’s candidate from Begusarai, Giriraj Singh, has supported Shiv Sena’s demand. Singh said, “In the country and all over the world several blasts have occurred in the guise of burqa. The burqa should be banned particularly at the time of elections. The Shiv Sena has demanded nothing wrong.” Singh has stirred controversies in the past as well due to his communal and outrageous remarks.

Though Shiv Sena’s president Uddhav Thackeray has dissociated himself and his party from this sensitive issue, senior Sena leader and executive editor, Sanjay Raut, has justified the editorial saying it is in line with Bal Thackeray’s views on national security. Raut, in the editorial, said that the current government had taken a decision to do away with Triple Talaq to save Muslim women from exploitation. Now, PM Modi will have to take a decision (on burqa ban) which will be “as courageous as the decision to conduct a surgical strike.” Adding further, he said, “We welcome the Sri Lankan government’s decision, and demand that PM Narendra Modi should take cue from it and clamp a ban on burqa in India in the national interest.”

However, the editorial has drawn sharp rebuttals from Muslim leaders as well as from the party itself. AIMIM chief, Asaduddin Owaisi, has condemned this demand and have urged the Election Commission (EC) to take note of this. “I request the EC to take cognisance of this article because it is trying to create divisions and polarisation within society. This is a grave violation of the Model Code of Conduct.”

Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena’s spokesperson, said “Today’s editorial has neither been discussed nor been announced by Uddhavji and thus it may be a personal opinion of the editor on the current affairs in Sri Lanka, but is not endorsed by the party president or the party.”

BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said that there is no need for any such ban as “Under PM Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is safe.”

Ramdas Athawale, president of the Republican Party of India- BJP’s ally, strongly came out against the Sena and said, “Not all women who wear burqa are terrorists, it is their custom and right too. There should not be such a ban on burqa in India.”

It is to be noted that Sena’s editorial emphasizes on the ban in Sri Lanka as the rationale behind its own demand. However, Sri Lanka has banned any face-covering garment, with no explicit mention of the burqa or niqab, so that the terrorists  cannot hide their identity through any means. Contrarily, Sena’s editorial has directly asked for a burqa ban which clearly reflects the party’s ideology and continues to other the Muslim community.

While there is a heated debate over the correlation between burqa ban and national security, the authorities fail to take cognisance of this rigid patriarchal practice which curbs women’s right to choose and their right over their own body. Such bans or arguments over such bans only create communal disharmony with the issues of terrorism and women’s individuality getting ignored.

Related Articles:
  1. Ban on Veils for ‘Public Safety’: Presidential Order post-Easter Attacks in Sri Lanka

  2. Burqa comments like Boris Johnson’s are pushing Muslims to reassert their identity

  3. Why Morocco’s burqa ban is more than just a security measure

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