Karnataka Hijab Row: Shashi Tharoor and Mohandas Pai spar on social media

Shashi Tharoor

Bengaluru, Feb 4 : Former Union minister and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Friday locked horns with ex-Infosys Director T.V. Mohan Das Pai on social media over the ongoing hijab row in Karnataka.

The hijab row in Karnataka has turned into a big controversy with many colleges denying entry to students wearing hijabs.

The Home Minister of the state, Araga Jnanendra, said on Thursday that no religious robe — be it a hijab or a saffron shawl — will be allowed in schools or colleges.

Reacting to the developments unfolding in the state, Tharoor first tweeted, “It’s been a strength of India that everyone is free to wear what they want. If the hijab is disallowed, what about the Sikh turban? The Hindu’s forehead mark? The Christian’s crucifix? This college is going down a slippery slope. Let the girls in. Let them study. Let THEM decide.”

His comments came after Muslim students were stopped at the entrance gate by the principal of the Government Pre-University College in Kundapur in Udupi district.

Reacting to Tharoor’s remarks, Mohan Das Pai stated, “Please stop politics Shashi Tharoor. All schools have a uniform code to create unity! Wearing this violates that code! If people want to wear something else, they must petition the government to change the code, not play politics! In Kerala the government refused to allow this in another matter!”

To this, Tharoor, replied, “This is a college, @TVMohandasPai, not a school. And in any case there is no law banning religious forms of dress like a Sikh turban or a crucifix around your neck or a tilak on the forehead, all of which are forbidden in France’s govt schools but permitted in India’s.”

Pai hit back by tweeting: “This is a school, PUC, class 12 not college, has a uniform for all! Crucifix, tilak, are all personal adornments, no bar! Dress is regulated in a uniform. Hijab is a new attire in these schools only over last 1 year, not earlier. That is the dispute started by PFI fundamentalist.”

“Any comments @ShashiTharoor? Muslim women in Afghanistan, Iran fighting to get rid of forced attire but these fundamentalists are forcing this here, taking people backwards, and you are supporting this,” Pai added.

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