Winner of college pageant faces Shia leaders’ wrath

A girl who won a beauty pageant in her girls' college has earned the ire of the Shia community she belongs to, particularly as the sect is is in a state of mourning over killing of Shias in Syria, Egypt, and Pakistan. The mourning period, according to the Maulvis, would end on January 10 during which no one is allowed to participate in such events or allowed to use even cosmetics.

The girl, a final year Bachelor of Arts student at RG Girls degree college, won the Miss RG contest but protests from Maulvis forced her family to go into hiding.

Principal Manju Singh told The Indian Express that the girl participated in extra-curricular activity in the college in which the administration never discriminated on the basis of caste or creed. She said, "She did participate, and won. Why then anyone should have objection to it?"

Asked if any Shia religious leader lodged any protest, she said none of the leaders met her. She reiterated it was an event held within the college.

Syed Binte Janab Naqvi, a religious leader and resident of Abdullahpur in Meerut, said, "We are in a state of mourning. Faria despite being a Shia Muslim participated in the event in which she should not have taken part. Her participation is condemnable."

Maulana Wasi Ahmed Zaidi said during the mourning even use of cosmetics is prohibited. General secretary of the Uttar Pradesh Urdu Teachers Association, Ali Haider Rizvi said it should have been avoided during the mourning period. "We cannot get competition banned but the girl should not have participated in the event. We are shocked by her demeanour and will take up the issue with her family," he said.

Deobandis, who react to almost every controversial issue concerning the minority community, however, distanced themselves from the event. "We have nothing to do with which event the girl participated and won. This is an issue concerning Shias and they should react to anyone violating state of mourning norms," said Ashral Usmani, PRO of the Darul Uloom, in Deoband.

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