Shiv Sena demands burqa ban

Chavan endorses Sena stand on Mistrys book
Last Updated 19 October 2010, 16:48 IST

“If the burqa is to be used to steal children, then we demand that it be banned as per law,” an editorial in party mouthpiece “Saamna” said.

Referring to France risking the wrath of the Islamic world by banning the burqa and other full-body robes worn by some Muslim women, the editorial said the French president took a “revolutionary step” to ban the burqa. “When burqa was banned in Turkey by Kemal Pasha, Islam did not come in between. Why only is it so in India,” it said.

The Shiv Sena, particularly its newly appointed Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray, is facing flak over forcing Mumbai University to drop Rohinton Mistry’s book “Such A Long Journey” for alleged derogatory references to Maharashtra and Marathi Manoos.

However, Mistry has voiced dismay over Mumbai University providing “deluxe service via express delivery” in quickly dropping his Booker Prize nominated book from the college syllabus. “A political party demanded a change in syllabus and Mumbai University provided deluxe service via express delivery making the book disappear the very next day. Mumbai University has come perilously close to institutionalising the ugly notion of self-censorship,” Mistry, who is based in Canada, said. 

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has endorsed the university’s decision.  Chavan, who in the past stood against Shiv Sena’s attempts to indulge in moral policing, said: “Whatever language is used in the book is highly abusive.”

A delighted Shiv Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut said: “If the chief minister of the state is also with us, you have to understand that we are right.”

Nevertheless, Chavan said his stand should not be seen as an endorsement of Sena’s cultural and moral policing. The chief minister said these were his personal views and that he would not like to interfere in the affairs of Mumbai University.

“I had not gone through the entire book. Whatever paras were shown to me, I read that, the language is highly abusive. Do we  expect our students to go through such books and use them in the educational curriculum,” Chavan told reporters. Chavan also said he found the language in certain portions of the book “highly objectionable”. “There is objectionable language in Rohinton Mistry’s book as well and we wouldn’t approve his book for students,” he said.

(Published 19 October 2010, 06:34 IST)

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