British secretary of state for communities and local government Eric Pickles, who is currently in India on a three-day visit, has criticised the French for the ban that has been imposed on the wearing of the burqa or niqab (veil) in that country.
Describing the decision as “incomprehensible”, Mr Pickles said it was difficult to understand why a civilised country like France has taken such a decision.
Mr Pickles also asserted that the British government has no intention to follow suit.
Mr Pickles said that people should be allowed to reflect their cultural identities. He further said that the decision to ban the veil “will end in tears, tears of laughter as there cannot be laws that are silly”.
It was on April 11 that the ban on the wearing of the veil in public came into force in France, thus making it the first European nation to impose such a measure. Those violating the ban can face a fine of up to 150 euros besides having to undergo a course in citizenship. The French government’s logic for making the veil illegal is that its wearing is not in sync with the country’s notions of equality and only leads to segregation.
Significantly, the British minister met Union home minister P. Chidambaram and discussed among other things the need to protect the rights of minorities and for the minorities to have “equality of opportunity”. Asian Age