Pakistan has expressed concern over a recent court ruling in India which upheld a ban on Muslim students wearing hijab in the classroom, stating that the ruling impinges on religious freedom and human rights.
On Tuesday, the High Court of Karnataka, India upheld the ban on hijab in classrooms across the southern Indian state, ruling that the hijab is not an ‘essential religious practice’ in Islam. The verdict set a possible precedent for restricting religious garb for minorities across the country.
“The decision manifestly has failed to uphold the principle of freedom to religious practices and impinges on the human rights,” the Foreign Office said in a statement following the verdict, adding that the ruling “marks a fresh low in the relentless anti-Muslim campaign where even the pretext of secularism is being weaponised to target Muslim.”
The FO expressed concern that the ruling would embolden ‘Hindu-RSS’ zealots to target the country’s Muslim minority.
“Pakistan strongly urges the Indian government to ensure safety, security and protection of minorities, particularly Muslims, and their right to practice religion,” the FO said, calling on the international community to take ensure the protection of all minorities in India, especially Muslims.
Multiple government colleges in India have effectively banned the hijab from classrooms, forcing Muslim girls to choose whether to remove their hijab or miss class. Many students opted to protest the ban, sacrificing their own studies to uphold their religious faith and freedom. The ban sparked national and international outrage, with many celebrating the strength and courage of the Indian Muslim students.