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Javed Akhtar says if government decides to ban burqa, ghunghat system should also be abolished

Veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar on Thursday (2 May) said he was not averse to enacting a law banning the burqa if it was accompanied with a similar action against the ‘ghunghat’ system prevalent among women in Rajasthan.

Akhtar’s comment came in the wake of the Shiv Sena mouthpiece on Wednesday (1 May) urging the Modi government to emulate Sri Lanka in banning the burqa on grounds of national security.

 Javed Akhtar says if government decides to ban burqa, ghunghat system should also be abolished

Javed Akhtar. Image from Twitter

“If you want to bring a law banning burqa here (in India) and if it is someone’s view I have no objection. But before the last phase of election in Rajasthan, this government should announce a ban on the practice of ‘ghunghat’ (covering of the face by Hindu women) in that state,” Akhtar told reporters here.

“I feel that ‘ghunghat’ should go and the burqa should go. I will be happy,” he added.

Speaking further on the issue, the Bollywood veteran said, “Brother, I have little knowledge of the burqa as there were working women in my family and I haven’t seen the practice at my home.”

“Iraq is a very orthodox Muslim country but the women there do not cover their faces. The law in Sri Lanka (now), too, forbids face cover,” said the celebrated screenwriter, a Padma Bhushan awardee.

In the editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena had asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to follow Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s footsteps and ban the burqa and other face-covering garments in India considering the “threat” they pose to the nation’s security.

Sri Lanka’s decision came in the wake of the Easter Sunday terror attacks in the island nation that killed over 250 people.

As the editorial created a flutter and drew sharp reaction from various quarters, a senior Sena leader said the editorial was not the official stand of the party, which is an ally of the BJP.

Akhtar on 3 May tweeted that his statement is being misrepresented by some people. While the ban on burqa was implemented in Sri Lanka as a security precaution, women being forced to cover their faces should be stopped for their empowerment.

(With inputs from Press Trust of India)

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Updated Date: May 03, 2019 11:54:16 IST