Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has criticised a Muslim scholar for allegedly reprimanding the organisers of an event in Malappuram for inviting a girl on stage.

The official Twitter handle of the Kerala Governor quoted Khan as saying that it was another example of Muslim women being pushed into seclusion “in total defiance of Qur’anic commands”. Khan’s criticism is one of many against the scholar after purported visuals of the incident went viral and sparked protests on social media.

In the video clip also aired by news channels, MT Abdulla Musaliyar, a senior functionary of Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama, a body of Muslim scholars, is purportedly seen chiding one of the organisers for calling a Class 10 student on the dais to receive an award. The incident occurred during the inauguration of a madrassa building in Malappuram district, where students were felicitated recently.

The memento was handed over to the girl by Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader Panakkad Sayed Abbas Ali Shihab Thangal. Soon after the award was handed over, Musaliyar questioned the organisers as to why the girl was invited on stage.

“Who invited a Class 10 girl to the stage? If you do this again… Don’t call such girls here. Don’t you know the rules of Samastha? Were you the one who called her? Ask her parents to come to the stage to collect the award. Don’t do such things while we are sitting here. This will appear in photos and be telecast,” a visibly angry Musaliyar was seen telling the organisers, while Thangal was standing next to him.

The person who announced the name of the girl was seen apologising to Musaliyar.

Taking to Twitter to express his displeasure, Khan tweeted on Wednesday: “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.”

“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,” he said.

The Governor further said the Holy Qur’an says that women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, but men have an added degree of responsibility towards them.

Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson P Sathidevi termed the Muslim scholar’s remarks as disgraceful and said such conduct was not appropriate in a civilised society, especially in a state which was at the forefront of female literacy.

In a release issued by the commission, she said people should awaken their conscience against the actions of such religious leaders who want to turn the society backwards by centuries. Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly VD Satheesan also disapproved of what happened.

Speaking to reporters, he said that if what was shown in the visuals was correct, then neither the Congress nor UDF can accept or support such stands or remarks. LDF MLA Mathew T Thomas, in a Facebook post, also criticised the conduct of the Muslim scholar.

Terming the remarks and the conduct of the scholar as unfortunate, he said it must have hurt the innocent mind of the child besides impinging upon the constitutional principles of gender equality. In his post, he apologised to the girl and urged her to consider it as a challenge and not to be discouraged by what happened.

With PTI inputs

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