NEW DELHI, February 9: Amid the hijab row in Karnataka, Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Wednesday said some people are giving “communal colour” to a decision on dress code and discipline of institutions as part of their “conspiracy to defame India’s inclusive culture”. With Pakistani ministers Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Chaudhary Fawad Hussain wading into the hijab row, criticising India over the issue, Naqvi also shot back saying Pakistan, which is a “jungle of crime and cruelty” for minorities, is preaching India on tolerance and secularism.
The reality is that the socio-educational-religious rights of minorities are being trampled brazenly in Pakistan, Naqvi told reporters here.
Equal rights, dignity and prosperity of the minorities, including Muslims, is a part of India’s commitment to tolerance, harmony and inclusivity, he asserted.
He pointed out that out of every 10 Muslims living in the world, one lives in India, there are more than three lakh active mosques in India and there is an equal number of other places of worship of the Muslim community.
There are more than 50,000 madrassas and more than 50,000 minority educational institutions, he said.
Besides, minority communities are equally benefitting from all other institutions and facilities in the country, he added.
While there were 1,288 temples in Pakistan before independence, only 31 are left now, Naqvi said.
Minorities’ population in Pakistan, which was about 23 per cent of the total population during the Partition, has now been reduced to even below three per cent, he said.
While in India, the population of minority communities which was about 9 per cent of the total population during the Partition, has now increased to over 22 per cent, the minister said.
He asserted that minorities in India are flourishing equally along with fellow citizens with a sense of equality, security and prosperity.
Hitting out at the Congress and other Opposition parties that have accused the BJP of polarisation, Naqvi said the “Bharat bashing brigade” has unfortunately once again received the support of Pakistan by those who are “misinformed on uniform”.
Some people are giving “communal colour” to a decision on dress code, discipline and decorum of institutions as a part of their “conspiracy to defame India’s inclusive culture and commitment”, Naqvi said.
The hijab controversy first erupted in January at a government PU College in Udupi, where six students who attended classes wearing headscarf in violation of the stipulated dress code were asked to leave the campus, has spread to different parts of the state with Hindu students too responding by turning up in saffron shawls.
Such saffron-clad students are also being barred from entering classes.
The row has also taken a political colour as the ruling BJP stood strongly in support of uniform-related rules being enforced by educational institutions, calling the headscarf, a religious symbol, while the opposition Congress has come out in support of Muslim girls. (PTI)