‘Communal mindset’: India skewers OIC over statement on Muslims in India | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Communal mindset’: India skewers OIC over statement on Muslims in India

ByHT Correspondent
Feb 15, 2022 09:32 PM IST

In a statement, the external affairs ministry said the communal mindset of the OIC Secretariat does not allow for a proper appreciation of these realities and the organisation continues to be hijacked by vested interests to further their nefarious propaganda against India.

NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday rejected the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) criticism of alleged harassment of Muslims in the country and accused the grouping of having a “communal mindset” and spreading “nefarious propaganda”.

Indian Muslim women in Kolkata shout slogans during a protest against banning Muslim girls wearing hijab from attending classes at some schools in Karnataka. (AP)
Indian Muslim women in Kolkata shout slogans during a protest against banning Muslim girls wearing hijab from attending classes at some schools in Karnataka. (AP)

External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi responded to OIC’s criticism a day after the group of 57 countries expressed deep concern over what it said were “public calls for genocide of Muslims” at the Dharam Sansad in Haridwar last December, harassment of Muslim women on social media and a ban on headscarves for Muslim students in Karnataka.

Bagchi accused the OIC general secretariat of issuing “yet another motivated and misleading statement” on matters pertaining to India and said: “Issues in India are considered and resolved in accordance with our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as democratic ethos and polity.”

He added, “The communal mindset of the OIC Secretariat does not allow for a proper appreciation of these realities. OIC continues to be hijacked by vested interests to further their nefarious propaganda against India.”

As a result, Bagchi said, OIC has “only harmed its own reputation”.

Though the Indian side didn’t name any specific OIC member, the reference to “vested interests” in such statements is usually seen as a reference to Pakistan.

OIC’s general secretariat had said in its statement that the “continued attacks targeting Muslims and their places of worship, the recent trend of anti-Muslim legislations in different states and rising incidents of violence against Muslims on flimsy pretexts...are indicative of the growing trend of Islamophobia”.

It called on the world community, especially UN mechanisms and Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, to take necessary measures, and called on India to ensure the safety and security of Muslims and to bring the “instigators and perpetrators of acts of violence and hate crimes against them to justice”.

Police at Haridwar in Uttarakhand registered a case after videos of the three-day Dharma Sansad, held during December 17-19, caused a furore since several seers participating in the event had called for violence against minorities. Five former chiefs of staff of the armed forces and more than 100 prominent citizens also condemned speeches made at the meeting in Haridwar.

India currently has close ties with several leading members of OIC, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but has traditionally bristled at any criticism of the country’s affairs by the grouping.

On Saturday, India rejected criticism by foreign countries of the bar on Muslim girls attending schools wearing headscarves in Karnataka as “motivated comments” on the country’s internal matters, and said the matter is being examined by the state high court.

The row over hijab erupted in Karnataka’s coastal district of Udupi in December, when eight girls in a government pre-university college were not allowed to attend classes because they wore the hijab. The issue quickly spread across the state with the hijab becoming a communal flashpoint, prompting violence, clashes and sloganeering.

Many Muslim and civil society groups said the initial school diktat and a February 5 state government order that said hijab was not a part of school uniform infringed on their constitutional rights. Hindu groups oppose this stand and say the hijab brings religion in the classroom, and have exhorted followers to wear saffron scarves in defiance.

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