Lyricist and screenwriter Javed Akhtar said that he is not averse to enacting a law banning the burqa (veil worn by Muslim women) if it is accompanied with similar action against the "ghunghat" (veil worn by Hindu women) system prevalent among women in Rajasthan. Javed Akhtar's comment came in the wake of the Shiv Sena mouthpiece on Wednesday urging the Narendra Modi government to emulate Sri Lanka in banning the burqa on grounds of national security.
"If you want to bring a law banning burqa here (in India) and if it is someone's view I have no objection. But before the last phase of election in Rajasthan, this government should announce a ban on the practice of 'ghunghat' (covering of the face by Hindu women) in that state," Mr. Akhtar said.
"I feel that ghunghat should go and the burqa should go. I will be happy," he added. However, many tried to distort his above statement and so posting a clarification on Twitter he said that what he said was meant for empowerment and not security.
The Bollywood veteran further went on to say, "I have little knowledge of the burqa as there were working women in my family and I haven't seen the practice at my home."Iraq is a very orthodox Muslim country but the women there do not cover their faces. The law in Sri Lanka (now), too, forbids face cover," he said.
As the editorial created a flutter and drew a sharp reaction from various quarters, a senior Sena leader said the editorial was not the official stand of the party. Sri Lanka's decision to ban burqa came in the wake of the Easter Sunday terror attacks that killed over 250 people.
(With inputs from PTI)
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