‘Reasoned comments on internal issues not welcome’: India after official US remark on hijab

One day after U.S. Goodwill Ambassador for International Religious Freedom (IRF) Rashad Hussain said banning hijab in schools ‘violates religious freedom’India retaliated on Saturday saying that “reasoned comments on our internal problems are not welcome”.

Responding to media queries on India’s reaction to some countries’ comments on dress code in some educational institutions in Karnataka, the official spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, said in a statement. “A matter regarding the dress code in some educational institutions in the State of Karnataka is under judicial review by the Honorable High Court of Karnataka. »

“Our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as our democratic and political ethos, are the context in which issues are considered and resolved. Those who know India well will have a good appreciation of these realities. Reasoned comments on our internal issues are not welcome,” he added.

On Friday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Melbourne and the two leaders reviewed efforts to enhance cooperation bilaterally and across the Quad cluster in the strategic region of Indian Ocean.

Hussain, who served as President Barack Obama’s US special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), was recently appointed US envoy for international religious freedom by the Biden administration.

Hussain had said on Friday that “Karnataka should not determine the legality of religious dress” and the ban on hijab in schools “violates religious freedom and stigmatizes and marginalizes women and girls”.

In a tweet, he said: “Religious freedom includes the ability to choose one’s religious attire. The Indian state of Karnataka should not determine the admissibility of religious clothing. Banning the hijab in schools violates religious freedom and stigmatizes and marginalizes women and girls.

Born in the United States, Hussain studied at Yale Law School and also earned his master’s degree in public administration (Kennedy School of Government) and in Arabic and Islamic studies from Harvard University. Her father was from Bihar.

Earlier, Pakistan also raised the issue of the hijab row and summoned the Indian diplomat to Islamabad to express concern over the developments in Karnataka.

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