The Shiv Sena an ally of the BJP and a right wing party that's no stranger to controversy has kicked up yet another storm. This time by demanding a ban on burqas or face veils in India citing security concerns. In their editorial mouthpiece Saamna the Sena argues that in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings that left over 250 people dead in Colombo, if Sri Lanka can impose such a ban then so should India.
They claim "This restriction has been recommended as an emergency measure to ensure the security forces do not encounter difficulties in identifying anybody. People wearing face-masks or burqas could pose a threat to national security". Additionally the party claims it's also batting for the rights of Muslim women in India many of whom want freedom from the veil. Predictably this demand from the Shiv Sena has drawn sharp reactions. AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi has termed the Sena's statement a gross violation of the model code of conduct and demanded action by the poll panel. He said the Supreme Court has already ruled that freedom of choice is a fundamental right. Raking up the 2008 Malegaon blast case Owaisi has also asked what were Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and the other accused wearing while allegedly carrying out that attack. The Sena's ally the BJP which has controversially fielded Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as its Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal is so far treading cautiously over this issue and has said the country is completely safe and secure under the leadership of PM Modi. Therefore no such security measures are needed Sri Lanka imposed a ban on Burqas after it was reported that some of the women accomplices of those who carried out the Easter Sunday bombings managed to escape as they were wearing burqas Sri Lanka has now joined France, Denmark and Belgium in imposing such a ban. One that has been the subject of extremely heated and polarizing debates the world over. The question however is this Is the Shiv Sena making such a demand for the sake of national security as they claim? Or is this yet another brazen and mischievous attempt by the Hindu right wing to browbeat the Muslim community curb their religious freedom and cause further communal polarization at a time when the religious faultlines in India already seem to be deepening?
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