Students across Kerala are protesting against a Kozhikode college teacher’s sexist remark that Muslim women are not wearing hijab properly and are deliberately exposing their breasts like sliced watermelon.
“I am a teacher of a college where 80% of students are girls and a majority of them are Muslims,” said Jouhar Munavvir T, a social science professor at Farook Training College, NDTV reported. “Although they wear a hijab, they expose some part of their chest, defeating the very purpose of wearing them. They expose like how we cut a slice of melon to see whether it is ripe or not.”
“When you wear a hijab, you are supposed to cover your breasts because men find them most attractive in a woman,” Munnavir said, according to the Hindustan Times. “But what do they do? They only cover their head and show off a portion of their body....In shops, people keep a cut watermelon on display so customers can come and choose what they want. That is how you [women] are also behaving.”
Students of the college are demanding action against the professor, carrying sliced watermelons to protest demonstrations. They said they will send slices of the fruit to Munnavir.
The protest is similar to the Pink Chaddi campaign that was launched in response to an attack on women in a pub in Mangaluru in 2009. People had sent pink underwear to the attackers in protest.
Some women also protested by sharing bare-breasted photographs on Facebook, which the social media company took down. Others shared photographs carrying sliced watermelon and demanded action against the professor. Students of other colleges also joined the agitation.
It is unclear when the professor made the comment, but a video of his speech began to be widely shared only recently. Farook Training College Principal CA Jawahar said Munavvir had made the statement at a counselling session three months ago outside the institute and it was unfair to bring it up now, the Hindustan Times reported.