Karnataka Congress hesitant to state stand on hijab?text_fields
Bengaluru: Regarding the BJP government's ban on hijab in Karnataka, the major Opposition in the state assembly, Congress, seemed to be hesitant to support Muslims, their traditional vote bank, The Indian Express reported.
Congress in the state has not pronounced a firm stand on the issue for weeks, while they had neither issued support to Muslims nor opined that the hijab needs to be banned.
On February 4, the leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah had said, after being urged by Muslim leaders, that by banning the headwear in educational institutions, BJP is curbing Muslim girls' education, but the entire party kept mum till February 18 after BJP alleged that Congress is supporting Muslim girls in wearing hijab.
It is learned that Congress ordered leaders not to make comments on the issue, and it has not raised it in the current state Assembly session but resorted to attacking BJP's KS Eshwarappa, who claimed that Hindutva's saffron flag would replace India's tricolour shortly.
When Muslim Congress MLA, Zameer Ahmed, voiced that hijab is an essential practice in Islam, the state Congress went to the extent of seeking an apology from him and the party president in the state, Sivakumar explained that the party had instructed members not to comment.
Meanwhile, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi made the grounds more difficult for Congress saying there are two opinions on hijab within Karnataka Congress. When some are supporting it, some believes that being pro-hijab might harm the party in the state. Congress is in the dilemma that if they don't support the hijab, they will lose Muslim votes, Joshi said.
The Janata Dal (Secular) also seemed tight shut on the issue, after a reasonably weak response from former CM HD Kumaraswamy said that restriction on hijab is "Beti hatao" rather than PM Modi's "Beti padhao, beti bachao." His statement was on February 5.
Now, Congress has informed that it is trying to solve the row through back channels as it had taken Muslim representatives to meet state Chief Minister Bommai for a discussion. It was only two days ago, Siddaramaiah said that Sangh Parivar is creating unwanted controversy over hijab, intending to deny Muslim girls' education. He said that the practice of wearing hijab is not something new, and none should interfere with the fundamental rights of those wearing it. Congress' only concern is about the education of Muslim girls, and it should not be denied to anyone after Manmohan Singh implemented the Right to Education. This was the first time the party had made a solid opinion on the issue.