Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao attacked the Centre again today over the hijab row, accusing it of playing “hijab panchayati” (politics over hijab). During his reply to the discussion on budget in Telangana assembly, Mr Rao said the BJP “uses every opportunity to create communal divide”.
“What does the government have to do with who wears what? Why the hijab controversy? Why are you charging up the atmosphere?” he questioned at the state assembly, referring to the massive row in BJP-ruled Karnataka.
The neighbouring state has been on the boil since December last year over the issue, which has now ended up in the Supreme Court. Earlier today, the Karnataka High Court upheld the ban on head scarves in educational institutions, saying hijab is not an essential practice in Islam.
The students who had challenged the ban in the High Court had contended that as an essential practice, hijab is protected under Article 25 of the constitution.
“We are of the considered opinion that wearing of hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith,” the judges had said, refusing to strike down the government decision to ban head scarves.
The court, however, had also suggested the possibility of “unseen hands” being at work in the background to engineer social unrest and disharmony.
Mr Rao, who has been ruling Telangana since the inception of the state in 2014, also iibed at the BJP over the “double engine growth” at the Centre.
Quoting figures to indicate that the Centre’s performance has been disastrous, he said according to data from the Reserve Bank, the Centre’s debt is 58.5 per cent of the GDP and stands at 152 lakh crore. “States are not allowed to have more than 25 per cent,” he said.