A 59-year-old Iranian woman died of cardiac arrest in hospital Monday after a fight broke out when vigilantes assaulted a member of her family over hijab.
A video, posted on social media after the incident shows the woman, whose name has not been disclosed, on the ground and scuffles between people on the scene at the parking lot of Mahan Garden, a tourist attraction 25km from Kerman, capital of the Eastern Kerman Province. The woman died at a hospital later.
Social media users have reported that the deceased and her family members were visitors from the southern port city of Bandar Abbas.
The video was taken from inside a bus which carried the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) affiliated Basij militia members and their families who were in Kerman to visit the grave of slain Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.
Apparently, the Basij members ordered a member of the woman’s family to cover her hair, leading to an argument and a scuffle.
“Let her die!”, one of the Basij women on the bus exclaims when another one points out that the woman on the ground has died.
Scuffle between Basijis and people at Mahan Garden’s parking after a woman collapsed.
Ali Babaei, governor of Kerman, confirmed the death of the 59-year-old woman and injury of several others in the group fight, which he claimed had been “personal”. He added that those responsible for the incident were arrested by the police but did not offer further details.
A judiciary official, Yousef Sobhani, has said that an investigation has been launched into the incident and “any possible crime would be seriously dealt with.”
The footage was initially widely shared by hardliners on social media because it showed a few people attacking the Basijis and throwing stones at the bus but was later removed from most accounts as it appeared to have backfired.
In the past few weeks, hardliners have intensified their efforts to enforce veiling laws more forcefully to put a stop to women’s increasing defiance of the compulsory hijab. Since popular protests after Mahsa Amini died at the hands of the morality police in September, many women walk in the streets without hijab. The clerical regime is determined not to allow unveiled women to appear outside their homes and prevent more women from flouting hijab rules in as the hot summer season arrives.
Such efforts include encouragement of hardliners to take the matter into their own hands and carry out their religious duty of “calling to virtue and forbidding wrong”. This includes shutting businesses for their customers’ defiance of hijab, and “hijab warning” text messages sent by the police to nearly everyone who uses a mobile phone, including some men.
Warning ‘hijab-less’ women, however, in several cases has gone well beyond “verbal” and ended in violence.
Emergency responders attending to a woman who had a panic attack during a hijab fight at shopping arcade in Babol.
A video from the CCTV of a convenience store in Shandiz near the religious city of Mashhad went viral on social media in early April that showed a man dumping a large tub of yogurt on the head of a ‘hijab-less’ woman and her mother, after an argument as he demanded from her to cover her head.
Some of the people present on the scene came to the defense of the mother and daughter. The attacker was also a member of the Basij.
Another video that became viral on social media in mid-April showed a young woman having a panic attack at a shopping arcade in Babol in northern Iran. The incident happened as a fight broke out when Basij militia tried to arrest some shopkeepers over hijab and fired their guns into the air during the scuffle.
The police later denied that shots had been fired or the hijab incident had caused the young woman’s panic attack.
Hijab incidents are now becoming a daily occurrence. At Tehran University on Monday students staged a rally outside the campus security office after a fight broke out between them and guards who had used violence against female students over hijab. The security detained two female students but later released them.
Many say on social media that women will not allow to be bullied again into wearing the hijab.