A day after an editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban the burqa, lyricist Javed Akhtar Thursday said the move should be accompanied with a similar action against the ‘ghunghat’ system prevalent among women in Rajasthan.
“If you want to bring a law banning burqa here (in India) and if it is someone’s view I have no objection. But before the last phase of election in Rajasthan, this government should announce a ban on the practice of ‘ghunghat’ (covering of the face by Hindu women) in that state,” Akhtar was quoted as saying by PTI.
On Wednesday, while welcoming Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s order banning “all sorts of face covers” in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks, the Saamna editorial urged PM Modi to follow suit and ban the burqa in “national interest”. Sri Lanka’s decision came in the wake of the Easter Sunday terror attacks in the island nation that killed over 250 people.
“I feel that ‘ghunghat’ should go and the burqa should go. I will be happy. Iraq is a very orthodox Muslim country but the women there do not cover their faces. The law in Sri Lanka (now), too, forbids face cover,” Akhtar said.
Stating that instances of burqas or veils being used for terror attacks have come to light, the Saamana pointed out that a ban had been enforced on beards for men and burqas for women even in an Islamic country such as Turkey, when “Kemal Pasha” (Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Turkish Republic and the country’s first President) “suspected that veils were being used for anti-national activities”.
However, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who is also executive editor of Saamana, distanced the party from the comments and said it was not Sena’s official stand.