“Let them live the way they choose to”: Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu on Hijab Row

Harnaaz Sandhu appealed to society to stop targeting girls, including on the issue of hijab, saying “Let them live the way they choose to.”

In a video clip that has gone viral on social networking platforms, Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu’s answer on her views about the hijab won her a lot of bouquets and a few brickbats.

The question was asked by the reporter at an event held on March 17 in honour of her homecoming. Before she could respond to the question, the organiser had intervened and asked the reporter to refrain from asking any political questions and suggested the media rather ask ‘about her journey, success and how she has been a source of inspiration.

The reporter responded, saying “Let Harnaaz say the same things.”

For which she answered, “Honestly, why do you always target girls? Even now you are targeting me. Like, even on the issue of hijab the girls are being targeted. Let them (girls) live the way they choose to, let her reach her destination, let her fly, those are her wings, don’t cut them, if you must (cut someone’s wings) cut your own,”

She then asked the reporter to ask her about her journey, the hurdles that she faced, and her success at the beauty pageant earlier this year. Appreciation poured in for the Chandigarh-based model for expressing her anguish over how often girls are targeted in society. While a section of Twitterati appreciated the stand, some chose to attack her “IQ Level”.

Today, Sandhu who was the showstopper for designer duo Shivan & Narresh at the FDCI x Lakme Fashion was body-shamed and was on the receiving end of ‘fat-phobic’ comments on the internet. She was declared Miss Universe on December 13, 2021. The 21-year-old resident of Chandigarh brought the crown to India after Lara Dutta in 2000.

On March 15, a three-judge Bench of the Karnataka High Court dismissed the petitions which sought permission to wear hijab in classrooms of educational institutions saying the headscarf is not an essential religious practice and uniform dress rules should be followed in educational institutions where it has been prescribed.

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