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Zameer Ahmed Khan

Congress leader clarifies his Hijab-rape link remark

February 15, 2022

A day after congress leader Zameer Ahmed said that India’s rape rates were high as women refused to wear Hijab, he has set out to issue a clarification on the same.

The former food and civil supplies minister’s foot in the mouth remark came when he was addressing the media regarding the Hijab row in Karnataka.

His statement read thus: “Hijab is used to hide a woman’s beauty… I think India has the highest rape rate because women are not inside purdahs”, drawing backlash from several people including Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee’s own president D K Shivakumar who asked him to tender an unconditional apology.

On February 14, Ahmed took to twitter to state that he did not intend to spark a controversy or pass remarks that were derogatory for women.

“I get anxious & scared to see increasing atrocities & rape on Women in our Country. Because of this state of our society, I said that at least with burqa-hijab we may be able to prevent rapes. It was not intended to hurt or disrespect anyone. I regret it if it has hurt anyone,” he said.

He explained that wearing burqa-hijab as religious practice was previously mandated in order to protect women. “My statement was based on this belief and there was no other reason,” he said.

He also clarified that clothes was not a reason for rape and that the incidents took place irrespective of what women wore. “The actual reason is the rapist mindset of few men. It is the men who should change their mindset. My opinion is that education is the only thing that protects women. If, for religious reasons, not wearing Hijab prevents them to access education, I would want them to first get educated at least by wearing it. They will then be able protect themselves through education. There is no strong weapon than education. Hence, I humbly request both the government and the people to not deny them the education just because they want to wear Hijab,” (sic) he said.

Also read: Hijab row: Bar body writes to PM seeking students follow dresscode

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