WELCOMING Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s order banning “all sorts of face covers” in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks, an editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to follow suit and ban the burqa and veils in “national interest”.
Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who is also executive editor of Saamana, subsequently distanced the party from the comments and said it is not the Sena’s official stand.
Thakur said no one complains when burqa is removed at airports, and that tradition should not come in the way of national security. She appealed the minority community to take a call.
Stating that ban on veil has come in “Ravan’s Lanka”, the Saamana editorial asked, “When will it happen in Ram’s Ayodhya? We are asking this question as Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to visit Ayodhya today…. Now the only question is, when will we take strong steps taken by countries such as Sri Lanka, France, New Zealand and Britain?”
The editorial stated that Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has shown courage by announcing that wearing the veil in public places is a criminal offence. “The Sri Lankan president announced that the decision has been taken for national security. We welcome it and demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should follow the footsteps of Sri Lanka and ban burqa and other veils in India,” the editorial stated.
A statement issued from Sirisena’s office on Sunday stated, “All sorts of face covers that hinders identification of individuals in a way that threatens national security shall be banned with effect from 29 April 2019 as per Emergency Regulations.”
Stating that instances of burqas or veils being used for terror attacks have come to light, the Saamana pointed out that a ban has 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”.
Raut said, “It is not the party’s official stand. Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray had repeatedly spoken about the burqa ban. The BJP too had made (a similar) demand in the past. In the Saamana editorial, I have analysed the issue in the wake of the burqa ban decision announced in Sri Lanka.”
Raut also said that since Lok Sabha polls are over in the Maharashtra, the editorial cannot be seen as a violation of the model code of conduct. —Inputs from ENS, Bhopal