India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday criticised the Organisation of lslamic Cooperation for its “motivated and misleading statement” about the recent hate speeches at Haridwar city in Uttarakhand.
The OIC’s General Secretariat had on Monday expressed “deep concern over recent calls for genocide of Muslims by the Hindutva proponents”. The organisation also raised concerns about the harassment of Muslim women on social media and the Karnataka government’s ban on Muslim students wearing hijabs at educational institutes.
The OIC urged the international committee, particularly the United Nations, to “take necessary measures” in this regard. The Islamic body asked India to “ensure the safety, security and wellbeing of the Muslim community while protecting the way of life of its members and to bring the instigators and perpetrators of acts of violence and hate crimes against them to justice”.
In response, the Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi alleged that the OIC “continues to be hijacked by vested interests to further their nefarious propaganda against India”.
“Issues in India are considered and resolved in accordance with our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as democratic ethos and polity,” Bagchi said. “The communal mindset of the OIC Secretariat does not allow for a proper appreciation of these realities.”
This was the second time in recent days that India received international criticism with respect to the hijab ban. On February 11, Rashad Hussain, the ambassador at large for the United States International Religious Freedom, had said that the ban on hijabs in Karnataka stigmatises and marginalises women and girls.
“Religious freedom includes the ability to choose one’s religious attire,” Hussain had said in a tweet. “The Indian state of Karnataka should not determine permissibility of religious clothing.”
In response, India had said that “motivated comments” on the country’s internal matters were not welcome.
Last week, Hindu students and mobs of men protested against Muslim women wearing hijabs to educational institutes at several places in Karnataka. At some colleges, Muslim students were heckled, while in another case, some men climbed up a flagpole to plant a saffron flag and broke into classrooms.
Meanwhile, in Haridwar several Hindutva supremacists had called for violence against Muslims at a dharam sansad, or religious conclave, held in December. One of them, Yati Narsinghanand Giri, had called upon Hindus to pick up weapons, asserting that the “economic boycott” of Muslims will not work.