Girl defies burqa diktat for denim

Girl defies burqa diktat for denim

 However, she has an even tougher task than preparing for the competitive tests, for she has been facing   threats from religious fundamentalists. And the two policemen posted outside her house at Vidyanagar in Kasargod show the enormity of the threat.

Rayana’s “crime” was that she began wearing jeans and top instead of the burqa. “It is not that I am exposing myself. I don’t do it. But they want me to cover my entire body, including the face, with burqa as other Muslim women do it here, which I don’t want to,’’ the girl told Deccan Herald over the phone.

Rayana’s troubles began last month when she began to get threatening letters which said she would be killed before August 26. Rayana received police protection on the directions of the Kerala High Court then. “They appear to have given me a concession and did not execute their sentence. Then I got two letters on Friday asking me to decide whether to live or die,’’ she said.

According to her, the letters asked her to go back to burqa and apologise to society if she wanted to live. The new deadline is September 26. “I don’t believe that wearing a burqa or not makes one a Muslim,’’ she said. “I have handed over the letters to the police,’’ she said.

The police are investigating the source of the threats. However, the phone numbers have been untraceable as the calls were apparently made from overseas. Rayana’s father Rehman is a public works contractor based in Bangalore and she has four younger sisters.

“Is it not my right to decide what I should wear? I studied in Chennai and now I am preparing for my civil service examinations. It is for convenience that I use jeans and I have covered everything that has to be fully covered,” a peeved Rayana said.

She has the full support of her family and has had police protection since August 17, thanks to the court order, after increased threats in the last two months.
Trouble started around this time last year after her return from Chennai, where she did her engineering and stayed on for six more months for the civil services examination coaching.

At first there were polite pleas from her relatives to wear the traditional Muslim attire. “Then my neighbours started advising me,” she said.
Continued on Page 11

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