Rajasthan BJP MLA faces protests from Muslim students over hijab: ‘Our children will turn up in lehenga chunni’

BJP MLA Balmukund Acharya is facing protests from Muslim students in Jaipur for allegedly not allowing them to wear hijab in a government senior secondary school. In Jaipur, several school girls jammed the road outside the Subhash Chowk police station and raised slogans against the BJP legislator.

Livemint
Updated30 Jan 2024
In Jaipur, several school girls jammed the road outside the Subhash Chowk police station and raised slogans against the BJP legislator. They demanded an apology from the legislator and an FIR against him.
In Jaipur, several school girls jammed the road outside the Subhash Chowk police station and raised slogans against the BJP legislator. They demanded an apology from the legislator and an FIR against him.(PTI)

Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Balmukund Acharya, who won the Hawa Mahal seat in the last Rajasthan Assembly Elections is facing protests from Muslim students of a government senior secondary school in Jaipur. The reason- Hijab

 BJP MLA Balmukund Acharya, who sought attention for going around his constituency shutting down shops selling non-vegetarian food a day after being elected as an MLA in Rajasthan. Acharya later apologised for his actions after people complained about him to the National Human Rights Commission.

In Jaipur, several school girls jammed the road outside the Subhash Chowk police station and raised slogans against the BJP legislator. They demanded an apology from the legislator and an FIR against him.

"The MLA had come to our school to attend the annual function. We welcomed him. We were told that hijab is not allowed. He asked how the girls can breathe while wearing hijabs. He should apologise," the protesting girls told reporters.

When Balmukund Acharya, the MLA from Hawa Mahal constituency, was asked about the protest by the Muslim girl students, he told reporters that he had asked the school principal about the dress code rules.

"I have asked the school principal that when there is a programme on January 26 or an annual festival in a government school, is there a provision for two different dresses? The principal has said no and said that the students do not follow," Acharya said.

The BJP MLA said that the girls were either in hijab or in burqa during the programme in the school.

"There were two types of atmosphere visible there. So, I had asked the principal about the dress code," Acharya said. "Why are there two types of dress codes in schools? I did not go to Madrasas and ask them to change their dress. They have their rules," he added.

Balmukund Acharya later released a video clarifying his position. "I had asked the principal if they have two different dress codes. When a Republic Day function or any government function is held, is there a different dress code? At this rate, even our children will turn up in lehenga chunni,'' he said.

On Tuesday Balmukund Acharya told news agency ANI that he had had a conversation with the Muslim girls, and the protest was only being done by people who were doing “politics”. 

Balmukund Acharya said, "This (protest) has been done by a few people who are doing politics. I spoke with the girls and had a good interaction with them. We spoke about PM Modi's schemes and their studies...The truth is that the dress code is not practised there on occasions like Republic Day, Basant Utsav, annual functions or Independence Day...Why are students coming in burqa and hijab? What is this new rule and regulation?...There is a separate Madrasa for that...I have only requested the school administration to speak with the students and make them understand...I would urge the CM that a dress code be implemented in all schools and the students come only in their school uniforms..."

Congress MLA from Adarsh Nagar constituency, Rafeek Khan, also tried raising the issue in the Rajasthan Assembly, but the Speaker did not allow him to speak and expunged his statement from the assembly proceedings.

Assistant Police Commissioner (North) Dr Hemant Jakhar said that the girl students and their families demonstrated outside the police station on Monday in protest against the MLA's statement during a programme in the school.

He said that the girl students and their families demanded that the MLA should tender an apology for his statement. They have also filed a complaint in this regard, he added.

(With PTI inputs)

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