The Shiv Sena on Wednesday distanced itself from an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana that called for a ban on burqas in the country. The editorial was published in the Wednesday edition of the newspaper.
“Every policy decision is discussed in the leader’s meeting or announced by [party president] Uddhav Thackerayji,” spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said in a statement. “Today’s editorial has neither been discussed nor been announced by Uddhav ji and thus it may be a personal opinion of the editor on the current affairs in Sri Lanka.”
Saamana asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban the burqa, pointing to a prohibition on the garment in Sri Lanka following serial blasts on April 21 that killed at least 253 people.
“People who wear face masks or other kinds of face covering in public can pose a danger to national security,” the Shiv Sena mouthpiece said. “This is why Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, in a display of courage, declared that wearing the burqa or niqab will be a criminal offence.” It asked when India will implement the ban. “We ask this question because Narendra Modi is on his way to Ayodhya today.”
The editorial claimed that many Muslims have failed to understand their religion and therefore women continue to wear the burqa. “When any voice is raised against these practices, immediately there are cries of ‘Islam is in danger’, and it seems religion takes precedence over nationalism among Muslims,” it added.
Sri Lanka declared a state of emergency last week after the serial bombings in churches and hotels on Easter Sunday. The attacks have been blamed on an Islamist group called the National Thowheed Jamath, though the Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility.