BJP member objected to Muslim woman in hijab at Madurai polling booth


A Muslim woman in hijab was hassled by a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) while entering a polling booth during the local body elections in Tamil Nadu on Saturday. She later managed to exercise her franchise after police and members of other political parties intervened. The issue seemed to be a fallout of the raging controversy over hijab in neighbouring Karnataka. In a video footage, the member of the BJP’s polling booth committee in Madurai district was seen loudly raising his objections after the hijab-clad woman voter entered the room.

The man reportedly asked her to take off the hijab. Subsequently, police personnel and members of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) intervened and ensured the woman managed to exercise her franchise. Policemen then asked the BJP member to leave the booth to maintain law and order. When asked about the incident, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin's son and DMK MLA Udhayanidhi Stalin said, “The BJP has always been doing this. We are completely against it. People of Tamil Nadu know whom to select and whom to reject. They will never accept it.”

The Karnataka high court is hearing a batch of petitions filed by a some Muslim girls against a ban on wearing hijab inside educational institutions. Amid protests that have spread beyond the state’s borders and have also drawn international attention, the court in its interim order ordered students to restrain from wearing any attire that may have a religious connection inside educational institutes.

The urban local body elections in Tamil Nadu are being conducted for 12,607 posts in 21 corporations, 138 municipalities and 490 town panchayats in a single phase after a gap of 11 years. Additional surveillance systems including web streaming and CCTV cameras have been placed at all locations, besides heavy police security. As many as one lakh police personnel have been deployed at the polling stations in the state.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)