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Disbanded Finally, But…

In what may be considered as a Big Victory for the Iranian women against the orthodox mentality of the administration in Tehran, the Ebrahim Raisi Government has abolished the controversial Morality Police amidst huge anti-Hijab protests.

The Iranian women, actively supported by men in Iran, have been staging protests against the dress code imposed by their Government for the past two months. Thousands of protesting young women tore off their hijabs on the streets. The Government of Iran bowed down to the protesters on December 4, 2022. In a way, the Iranian rulers have recognised demands of the movement against conservatism by abolishing the country’s Morality Police.

The Iranian news agency ISNA has quoted Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri as saying: “Morality Police have nothing to do with the Judiciary.” Speaking at a religious conference, the Attorney General responded to a participant, stressing: “Both the Parliament and the Judiciary are working (on the issue) whether the law, requiring women to cover their heads, needs to be changed.

It may be noted that the Morality Police, also known as the Gasht-e Ershad or Guidance Patrol, were established under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to “spread the culture of modesty and hijab” in 2006. As they had nothing to do with the Judiciary, the Government has abolished the unit after considering the current political situation in the West Asian nation.

The incident started on September 16, 2022 after the Guidance Patrol (or the religious Morality Police) of Iran arrested 22-year-old Iranian Kurd woman Mahsa Amini for not wearing the hijab in accordance with Government standards. The Law Enforcement Command of the Islamic Republic claimed that before transferring her to the hospital, Amini had a heart attack at a Police Station, collapsed, and slid into a coma. However, eyewitnesses, including women who were detained with Amini, reportedly said that she was severely beaten up, and died as a result of Police brutality. Amini’s death under questionable circumstances triggered nation-wide anti-Hijab protests. As the global community, including famous personalities, backed the protesters; the Government of Iran came under tremendous pressure. Initially, the Administration of President Raisi blamed the Western World for creating troubles for Iran. However, the Iranian administration has been forced to abolish the Morality Police under pressure.

Political analysts are of the opinion that the death of Mahsa Amini has a great impact on Iran’s internal politics, as well as on the Iranian society. The incident has ultimately stopped the 16-year-long journey of Gasht-e Ershad.

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