Women wearing fewer clothes invite trouble, says Telangana Home Minister Mahmood Ali; it’s their choice, counter activists

The BRS leader was reacting to an incident in which a Hyderabad college asked female students to remove their burqas before writing an exam.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Jun 17, 2023 | 2:41 PMUpdatedJun 17, 2023 | 2:41 PM

Women wearing fewer clothes invites trouble, says Telangana Home Minister Mahmood Ali

Telangana Home, Prisons and Fire Services Minister Mahmood Ali on Saturday, 17 June, courted controversy after he remarked on what women should wear.

He was reportedly reacting to an incident in which a college in the Old City of Hyderabad asked female students to remove their burqas before writing an examination.

The incident took place on Friday at the KV Ranga Reddy Degree College for Women in Santosh Nagar where the college authorities asked the female students to remove their hijabs/burqas before entering the exam hall.

One of the students, who was there to write their intermediate supplementary exam, told reporters how they were forced to remove their burqa in front of male security staff.

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‘Don’t dress like Europeans’

Noting that while it’s everyone’s choice to wear whatever they want, Mahmood Ali remarked that they shouldn’t dress like Europeans. “The situation will turn bad,” he added.

The minister advised women to dress according to society. “Wear what everyone wears, such as Hindu women covering their head with a pallu (headscarf).”

The BRS leader went on to say that dressing in such a manner would gain respect from an individual.

“Women wearing fewer clothes invite trouble. People feel relaxed if women wear more clothes,” he added.

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Not the first time

In 2019 as well, Ali found himself in a controversy after he made a remark regarding a 27-year-old Hyderabad-based veterinary surgeon who was raped, murdered, and set ablaze on 27 November that year. He said that the woman should have called the police first instead of her sister.

“We are saddened by the incident, the police is alert and controlling crime. She was an educated woman and yet she called her sister instead of 100 (police helpline),” Ali was reported saying by the news agency ANI.

“Had she called 100, she would have been saved. 100 is a friendship number and we have to spread awareness among the people,” he added.

Also Read: TN police book BJP member for harassing hijab-wearing doctor

India is a democracy

Noted Hyderabad-based women’s rights activist Brinda Adige reminded Home Minister Ali that it’s his job to ensure that women feel safe wherever they go and wear whatever they choose.

“He dare not school any woman on how she must dress for the comfort of misogynists, chauvinists, and those steeped in patriarchal norms, to control women, our choices, and bodily autonomy,” she told South First.

Noting that India is a democracy, she went on to say, “We are not some Middle Eastern country with theocratic diktats. Such loose talk by elected representatives emboldens perpetrators of violence against women.”

Aidge hoped Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao and the BRS Party “will pull up this retrograde”.

“The Home Minister must apologise to the women of Hyderabad and women across the state,” she said.

Several people on social media expressed their displeasure over Ali’s statement.

Political rivals of the BRS also had a field day.