Women’s groups write open letter to Chief Minister

‘You have the responsibility to protect the rights of all’

A group of women’s organisations have written to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai expressing shock over “a relatively small issue” related to the attire of women students from the Muslim community in one government college in Udupi being “escalated into a violent crisis consuming the entire State and putting at risk the personal security and academic future of young Muslim women”.

“Flames of hatred are being fanned between students from Hindu and Muslim communities who earlier studied together as friends,” stated the open letter by groups including All-India Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane, All-India Progressive Women’s Association, Karnataka; Stree Jagruti Samiti, Jagrutha Mahila Okkuta, We the Women, and Onnade.

“May we remind you that you are a constitutional head who has to govern a State with diverse populations of multiple faiths in a country that continues to be a secular democratic republic. And therefore you have the responsibility and obligation to protect the rights of all and especially the most marginalised and vulnerable. And this instance it is that of young Muslim women who are being denied their fundamental right to education,” stated the open letter.

Don’t deny education

In an enlightened democracy, the letter stated, while food or clothing is a matter of personal and individual choice, education is a fundamental right and that the Government has a direct responsibility to ensure it and not deny it on any ground.

The signatory organisations demanded re-establishing healthy democratic learning spaces within which young women from all communities can participate. “Stay within the constitutional framework to ensure the basic rights of the women to education regardless of the attire they choose to wear,” stated the letter.

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