Maha Sabha Head Bans the Opposition Leader Over Hijab Stance
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO — Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar will “pay a hell of a price” for her comments on the issue of on-the-job trainee Nafisah Nakhid being disallowed from wearing her hijab at the Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College in St Augustine.
This, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, was the threat from Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha secretary general Satnarayan Maharaj on Friday, as he banned Persad-Bissessar from the school’s compound.
As an immediate punishment for her comments, Maharaj also revoked the invitation given to Persad-Bissessar to deliver the feature address at Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College for its upcoming Indian Arrival Day function. In an interview on his organisation’s TV Jaagriti on Friday, he warned that Persad-Bissessar will pay a political price in time to come. A clip of that interview was later shared on social media sites.
On Monday, the Guardian said, Nakhid was told she could not wear her hijab on the Lakshmi Girls’ compound if she were accepted to do her training there. She subsequently chose to leave the compound, noting she felt discriminated against as a devout Muslim. Maharaj has countered that anyone who is accepted to teach at the school has to conform with its code of conduct, which does not allow hijabs to be worn because it is a religious symbol not affiliated to Hinduism.
The Ministry of Education, agreeing the decision by the school board seemed discriminatory, has since referred the matter to the courts for a ruling.
On Wednesday, Persad-Bissessar joined the chorus of condemnation over the issue and released a statement urging the school’s board to reconsider its decision, and also called on the Minister of Education and Attorney General to move swiftly to have the matter resolved.
Maharaj on Friday took Persad-Bissessar to task for her comments.
“Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, I want to tell you that we are going to free up the Hindu vote. Another thing I want to tell you Kamla, we sent you an invitation for our Indian Arrival Day programme on Wednesday at Lakshmi College, you are due to talk but I want to tell you now I have revoked that invitation, you are not welcome on our compound. Kamla Persad-Bissessar you are not welcome on our compound,” Maharaj was quoted as saying.
“You take for granted…you can behave anyhow, do what you want, eat what you want, drink what you want, play the a.. all over the place and the Hindu is still going to vote for you.
“Kamla those days are over. We are asking the Hindus to free their vote, vote for whichever party has the best programmes, vote for whichever candidate is the best candidate, not because they are Indian and Hindu or woman. The Hindu vote is going to be freed up no more voting because you belong to the same race or the same class. Kamla you are going to pay a hell of a price.”