Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has accused Muslim clerics of secluding and suppressing young women by defying Quranic commands.
Governor Khan was responding to a recent controversy involving a senior functionary of Samastha Kerala Jemiyyathul Ulama whose comments aimed at a tenth standard girl student have drawn widespread flak.
A video clip -- from a ceremony that took place at a Madrasa in Malappuram in which Samastha leader MT Abdulla Musaliyar is heard chiding the organisers for inviting a girl student on stage -- has gone viral.
"Sad to know that a young talented girl was humiliated on stage in Malappuram district while receiving a well-deserved award simply because she was born into a Muslim family," Governor Arif Mohammed Khan tweeted.
"This is yet another example of how Muslim clerics continue to push hard Muslim women into seclusion and suppress their personality in total defiance of Qur'anic commands and provisions of the Constitution."
Governor Khan added that "men have an added degree of responsibility towards them (women)" while saying that women shall have "rights similar to the rights against them according to what is fair and reasonable".
Samastha leader's comment misogynistic: KWC chair
P Sathidevi, the chairperson of the Kerala Women's Commission came down heavily on the Samastha leader for his "deplorable and misogynistic" comments.
"In a civilised society that is ahead in women's literacy, it does not suit a religious leadership to prohibit a young girl from receiving an education award," said Sathidevi.
"The society's conscience must rise against the religious leadership that aims to send us several centuries back," she added.
What the cleric said:
"Who called the tenth standard girl on stage? I'll show you if you call them again. Such girls shouldn't be brought up here. Don't you know Samastha's position on this? Tell the parent to come."
That was MT Abdulla Musaliyar's reaction, which to his lack of awareness was caught in the stage microphone. Incidentally, the cleric also heads the education board of Samastha.