Muslim civic body administrator was ‘forced’ to remove headscarf in PM Modi’s Women’s Day event


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-talked-about event in Gujarat on International Women’s Day has landed in yet another controversy after it emerged that a Muslim woman was allegedly asked to remove her Islamic headscarf before attending the function.

Shaharbanath Saidalavi, president, Muppainad panchayat in Wayanad, alleged that the security personnel deployed at the event in Gandhinagar, was forced to attend the programme without her Islamic headscarf for nearly an hour. She was given her headscarf back only after the members of Kerala Women Commission intervened and heated exchange followed.

For a practicing Muslim woman, headscarf is more than a symbol of modesty. It also forms an integral part of her religious practice.

Modi’s event was organised to felicitate the women achievers on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Saidalavi’s panchayat in Kerala had been selected for its contribution towards making the area free of open defecation.

Noorbina Rashid, a member of Kerala Women’s Commission, told NDTV that treatment meted out to Saidalavi was an insult and unacceptable.

She said, “This is an insult and unacceptable. On Women’s Day, this is what is happening to a woman from a minority community.”

The Kerala Commission for Women has demanded action against the guilty security personnel.

Police, for its part, has denied the allegations. Virendra Yadav, Superintendent of Police, Gandhinagar, said, “The woman’s face was covered and it had to be removed to check her identity. This was done in the presence of the lady co-ordinator.”

Modi’s Women’s Day event was married with several unpleasant developments on Wednesday. Two Dalit and OBC leaders were taken into preventive detention just before his event. Two gangrape victims too were taken into preventive custody by the Gujarat Police before they could make a representation before the Prime Minister.

A young woman sarpanch from Noida was also gagged and dragged away by police when she made attempts to ask Modi about lack of development in her area.