India on Tuesday reacted sharply to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressing concern over the “harassment of Muslim women” in Karnataka for wearing the hijab and calls for genocide; stating that the communal mindset of the OIC “does not allow for proper appreciation” of Indian realities including the “constitutional framework” and “democratic ethos”.
Responding to media queries for a reaction to the OIC’s remarks including a call to the international community to take “necessary measures”, external affairs ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi billed the OIC general secretariat’s comments as “yet another motivated and misleading statement” on matters pertaining to India.
“Issues in India are considered and resolved in accordance with our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as democratic ethos and polity. The communal mindset of the OIC secretariat does not allow for a proper appreciation of these realities. OIC continues to be hijacked by vested interests to further their nefarious propaganda against India. As a result, it has only harmed its own reputation,” Bagchi said.
On Monday, OIC had tweeted that its general secretariat “expresses deep concern over recent public calls for #genocide of #Muslims by the ‘#Hindutva’ proponents in #Haridwar in the state of #Uttarakhand and reported incidents of harassment of #Muslim #women on social media sites as well as banning of Muslim girl students from wearing #hijab in the state of #Karnataka”.
Further, it called upon the “international community, especially the #UN mechanisms and Special Procedures of the #HumanRights Council, to take necessary measures in this regard”. It also urged India “to ensure the safety, security & wellbeing of the #Muslim community while protecting the way of life of its members & to bring the instigators & perpetrators of acts of violence and hate crimes against them to justice”.
This is the first time the government has commented on the criticism from overseas over the hijab controversy which was flagged by Pakistan earlier this month. Pakistan is scheduled to host an OIC meeting next month. This is not the first time India and OIC have crossed words over happenings inside India including on Kashmir.
India had made much of being invited as guest of honour to the OIC plenary in 2019 but has always maintained that it does not have a locus standi to comment on internal matters.