From Indian News Online:
Posted: Tuesday , Jul 07, 2009 at 0127 hrs IST
Justice Markandeya Katju, who recently stirred a hornet’s nest by linking the act of sporting a beard with the “talibanisation of the country” on Monday, withdrew his remarks and expressed “apology and regret in the matter”.
“During the hearing, certain observations were made by one of us (Justice Katju). His intentions were not to offend anyone. However, if any one’s feelings have been hurt, he apologises and expresses regret,” the bench comprising Justice R V Raveendran and Katju said, while withdrawing its earlier order.
Justice Katju had dismissed an appeal filed by a Muslim student Mohd Saleem, who was aggrieved by a directive of a MP convent school prohibiting Muslims from sporting a beard, the judge had observed that this was not a fundamental right of Muslims. Katju had observed, “It (court) cannot allow Muslim students to sport a beard as it amounted to Talibanisation of the country.”
The original remark by Justice Katju was dangerously close to the views of German Axel W., who murdered an Egyptian woman just for wearing a headscarf, which in W. ‘s twisted views made her a “terrorist”.
While, in reality, there are very many reasons why Muslim (or non-Muslim) women may wear, or not wear, headscarves.
Similarly so with beards: many pious Hindus and Sikhs wear beards. Some Jews see wearing beards as a religious duty, while other Jews don’t. Quite some Christians and atheists have worn, or wear now, beards … etc.