Thousands of Kolkatans including students from schools, colleges and universities, men and women from various sections of the society took to the city streets to protest against the row over the ‘hijab’ controversy in Karnataka. The city witnessed several protest marches from various corners as the youth in large numbers gathered favouring ‘Hijab.’
The city streets echoed with slogans of ‘my hijab, my choice’ and ‘stand united with hijab’ as several citizens marched from various parts of Kolkata protesting against the ‘hijab’ row. A huge crowd of men and women from various sections of the society including Moulana Shafiqe Qasmi and Qari Fazlur Rahman, who leads the Eid-ul-fitr prayers at Red Road, Mallick Ishaqe of Calcutta Khilafat Committee and social activist Uzma Alam participated in the protest march from Nakhoda Mosque to Park Circus Maidan.
Slamming the hijab controversy, Qari Fazlur Rahman said, “This is sheer politics and efforts to trigger clashes between Hindus and Muslims before the UP elections,” Condemning the buildup at Karnataka, Mr Rahman said, “The administration should arrest the miscreants who are trying to create enmity between citizens.”
The spiritual leader urged the people to raise their voices peacefully. Like Zakaria Street and Park Circus Maidan, Metiabruz also echoed with slogans of similar demonstrations. A large number of school, college and university students, men and women from different professions spilled out of their homes and marched protesting the ‘restrictions on hijab.’ “Will a government in a democratic country like ours dictate people what to wear or eat?” said a protesting boy during the march.
“While women of other religions have the freedom of wearing what they want, why are the members of only one community being targeted?” added another student. The ‘hijab’ controversy in Karnataka has drawn strong condemnation from the Bengal Imams’ Association, a body representing the Muslim clergy in the state. Terming the controversy a calculated move before the elections, the chairman of the association, Md Yahya, has urged the members of the minority community to remain calm and not get provoked by anyone