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Shiv Sena is not demanding ban on burqas, says party leader Sanjay Raut

Stating it was not the official stand of the party, Raut however maintained that the ban is a matter of “social reform” than religious one, similar to the party’s stand on triple talaq

mumbai Updated: May 06, 2019 00:20 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Shiv Sena,Sanjay Raut
In his weekly column, Rok Thok, in party mouthpiece Saamana on Sunday, Raut took on AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi for making it a Hindu-Muslim tussle and a religious issue. (HT File )

A week after starting controversy by demanding ban on burqa in India, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said it was not the official stand of the party. Raut, however, maintained the ban is a matter of “social reform” than religious one, similar to the party’s stand on triple talaq.

A Saamana editorial on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to follow in Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena’s footsteps and ban burqas and other face veils in India, considering the “threat” they pose to the nation’s security. The party had clarified the demand was not endorsed by the Sena or its leadership, but was an individual’s view.

In his weekly column, Rok Thok, in party mouthpiece Saamana on Sunday, Raut took on AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi for making it a Hindu-Muslim tussle and a religious issue. Despite a rebuke from party leadership, Raut remained defiant, writing on social media and through his column that national interest and security take precedence over personal freedom. “Two incidents became poll issues in the ongoing general elections — Masood Azhar and burqa ban in Sri Lanka. The Congress did not express happiness after the UN designated Masood Azhar a global terrorist. Their fear was the decision may push Hindu votes towards Modi. There was more discussion on the burqa ban in India than in Sri Lanka,” he wrote. “One thing should be clarified here, the demand was not made by the Shiv Sena or Uddhav Thackeray. Saamana just published an analysis of the developments in Sri Lanka. As the elections in Maharashtra have ended, there is no scope for the Sena to gain electorally by raking up the issue.”

Among the criticism that came following the editorial, Owaisi said wearing a burqa is as much a “fundamental right” as it is a “choice”. Taking on him, Raut said, “In India, too, there have been terrorist strikes by those who hide their faces behind a veil. Kasab and his associates entered our country wearing a veil. The number of crimes committed by masking face has gone up in India. But leaders like Owaisi have connected people who mask their identity with Islam and demanded action on the Shiv Sena… Religious practice does not mean unrestrained behaviour, and no Hindu, Muslim or Christian has the freedom to behave in this manner. Owaisi should understand this,” he said.

First Published: May 06, 2019 00:18 IST