Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Saturday termed the ongoing hijab row as a "conspiracy" and said it was not a question of choice but whether a person would follow the regulations, dress code of an institution or not.
Responding to the raging issue in neighbouring Karnataka, he told reporters in New Delhi that "please don't take this as controversy...this is a conspiracy."
Noting that Muslim girls are doing "so well" everywhere and so they need encouragement, Khan also said they do not need to be pushed down.
"It (wearing hijab) is not a question of choice...but it is a question of whether if you are joining an institution, are you going to follow the regulations, the discipline and the dress code or not," he said.
The Kerala governor's reaction came a day after he said there were instances of women refusing to wear the the hijab when one traces the history of Islam.
Though he did not elaborate, Khan on Friday narrated the story of a young woman, said to be a relative of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), to prove his point.
"I will tell you just one quote... A young girl, who was brought up in the household of the Prophet himself... she was the niece of the wife of the Holy Prophet. She was proverbially beautiful...," he said.
"This is what history says... read it," Khan told reporters.
Quoting the story, he said when the woman's husband was the then Governor of Kufa in medieval times, she was chided for not wearing a hijab. What she said was that God had made her beautiful and the almighty had placed his stamp of beauty on her.
"She said I want people to see my beauty and see the grace of God in my beauty... And be thankful to God... This is how the women of the first generation (of Islam) behaved. That's all I want to say," Khan said.
The controversy erupted towards the end of December when a few women students in hijabs were denied entry into a government pre-university college in Udupi in Karnataka.
To counter this, some Hindu students turned up wearing saffron scarves.