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BJP wants verification of burqa-clad women during civic elections

A video of police women forcing a Muslim woman to remove her veil for identification at Adityanath’s Ballia rally had gone viral, forcing the police to order an inquiry into the incident.

lucknow Updated: Nov 24, 2017 10:16 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
BJP,Burqa-clad women,Civic elections
The move kicked up a controversy with opposition parties claiming that it smacks of BJP’s anti-minority mindset.

Two days after a Muslim woman was forced by police to take off her burqa (veil) at chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s rally in Ballia, the BJP’s UP unit approached the state election commission on Thursday and demanded verification of burqa-clad women during polling for the remaining phases of urban local bodies’ elections.

A BJP delegation, led by party’s state vice president and civic polls in-charge JPS Rathore, met poll panel officials and demanded that women police personnel be posted at polling booths to verify burqa-clad women

The move kicked up a controversy with opposition parties claiming that it smacks of BJP’s anti-minority mindset. The BJP later clarified that the move was aimed at checking fake voting.

On Tuesday a video of police women forcing a Muslim woman to remove her veil for identification at Adityanath’s Ballia rally had gone viral, forcing the police to order an inquiry into the incident.

“BJP is jittery of its prospects and we have sent a letter to the chief election officer about how they are violating the code of conduct. They only think of divisive politics and issues,” said Rajendra Chaudhary, national secretary of Samajwadi Party.

“Such verification could be required in cases where our cadres suspect foul play and that is why women cops would be required at polling booths,” the BJP delegation told the commission.

The Congress too targeted the BJP. “It’s an unusual demand that we suspect has been made to make the party’s voters happy. If the demand is accepted then it would mean that police would force women to remove their veil when the same could be easily done by women deployed by the election commission. This is sheer insult of women in general and minority women in particular,” Congress leader Hilal Naqvi said.

Read more: Woman forced to remove burqa at UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s rally, probe ordered

The BJP’s demand came after the completion of first round of polling in the three-phased elections, the results of which would be declared on December 1. The second round of polls would be held on November 26 while the third and final round would be on November 29.

Among the districts where polling would be held in the last two phases include Lucknow, Muzaffarnagar, Amroha, Rampur, Bahraich, Saharanpur, Baghpat, Bulandshahr, Moradabad, Sambhal, Bareilly, Ferozabad and Mau with substantial minority population.

The BJP has fielded the largest number of minority candidates in these civic polls and is hoping that its decision to push for ban on instant triple-talaq would help it connect with progressive minority women.

First Published: Nov 24, 2017 10:10 IST