Saffronization: A threat to regional peace and stability.

Byline: Saima Afzal

India declares itself a democratic and secular state that claims to promote religious harmony within it. However, the reality is opposite, and the Indian constitution has failed to transform the Indian society into a secular state because of the biased and bigoted attitude of the BJP-led Modi government's Hindutva ideology.

Hindutva is a modern political ideology that supports Hindu supremacy and wants to transform constitutionally a secular state of India into an ethno-religious nation recognized as the Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation). Whether it is Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Budhists and Dalits, all the minorities are victimized under the BJP's biased policies. It seemed that India has become an apartheid state where human rights and equality have become a distant idea.

Karnataka is a state in the south-west of India, and has been in the news due to the BJP-led Hindutva ideology and discriminatory attitude towards Muslims and Christians. Minorities have borne the brunt of Hindutva policies throughout India under the current BJP/RSS neo-Nazi government. Even the liberal Hindus who disagree with Hindutva policies have to face the consequence of being opposed. The tussle over hijab and saffron scarves continues to spread to more colleges in Karnataka and the issue has entered the national discourse; and is likely to gain momentum in coming days.

The Hijab ban is another blow to the Indian secular outlook that India is losing rapidly. Hijab ban has once again highlighted Modi's hatred towards the Muslim minority. In the past, during 2002, Modi was the mastermind of Gujarat massacres to eliminate the resistance of Muslims. Ethnic democracy and an authoritarian approach is defining the future contours of Indian policy with intolerance and discrimination as its key pillars.

Forcing Muslim women to give up their hijab is a clear violation of Article 25 of Indian Constitution that guarantees religious freedom and forbidding them from entering classrooms infringes upon Articlthe e 21(A) and Article 15 that give assurance of right to education and prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth respectively. On the 15 March 2022, a three-judge bench of Karnataka High Court has upheld the state government's ban on Hijab in schools and colleges on the grounds that wearing it was not essential in Islam. The discriminatory verdict makes a mockery of India's so-called liberal and secular credentials under...

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