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BJP MLA’s statement against Hijab in schools draws outrage in Jaipur

Students expressed their outrage over Baba Balmukund Acharya’s statement over allowing Hijab in schools, by blocking roads and through a demonstration outside a police station on Monday in Rajasthan’s Jaipur. 

Hawa Mahal Rajasthan MLA, Balmukund Acharya of BJP, objected to the wearing of Hijab in schools and students were made to raise slogans of ‘Jai Sri Ram’, in the annual function of a government school located in the Gangapol area of the capital.

In response to this, a large number of students took to the streets and surrounded the Subhash Chowk police station demanding action against Acharya.

Speaking to reporters, a student said “He (Acharya) had come to attend our annual day function. We welcomed him very warmly but he started raising slogans (of Jai Sri Ram). Some girls remained silent. He started saying that hijab should not be allowed in schools.”

In a video shared online, Acharya can be seen repeatedly objecting to allowing students to wear the hijab with the school authorities, saying, “Hijab has spoiled the atmosphere here (school function)”. As he walked past the crowd of students, he was seen directing the school administration to “get all this (hijab) changed” and raised slogans of ‘Jai Sri Ram’. Notably, Ganga Paul Girls School allegedly has 85% Muslim students.

The function that was held on Saturday, January 27th, had a large number of students wearing the hijab.

Following the controversial remark by Acharya, students have gathered outside the police station demanding an apology from him. The crowd can be seen shouting ‘Baba maafi maangega! (Baba must apologize!)’, while a student questioned, “Who are they to stop us from wearing hijab?”

The students allege that Acharya raised slogans in the school deliberately accusing him of being communal. “Hindu-Musalman karthe rehte hai woh bas (He just keeps saying Hindu-Muslim),” a student told the reporters, while another student added, “This is wrong”.

The Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) reportedly arrived at the location where students, along with their family members were demanding action against Balmukund Acharya, and listened to their concerns. When the students complained about the ban on the wearing of Hijab, he assured them, ‘Aisa kuch nahi hone wala hai (nothing of that sort is going to happen),” as per a student’s statement. 

According to a local news report, the matter was raised in the house by Congress MLA Rafiq Khan. BJP MLAs strongly objected to Khan raising issues other than the adjournment motion. This was supported by Speaker Vasudev Devnani, who ordered the removal of any subject matter other than the adjournment motion from the house proceedings.

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