The leading candidate for the Indian presidency has enraged Muslim leaders by urging her fellow women to stop wearing the veil.
Pratibha Patil claimed that veils were only introduced to India in the 16th century to protect women from Muslim invaders, and were no longer needed.
She will need lots of security.
Maulana Khalid Rashid, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said that it was God who had asked women to wear a veil and that this was enshrined in the Koran, the Muslim holy book. The board is the highest authority for Muslims in India on laws governing personal matters.
“Any statement against the veil means an opinion against Allah and the Koran which no Muslim will tolerate,” Rashid told the Associated Press news agency.