Hijab Row Turns Violent: Clashes, Stone Hurling Incidents Reported in India's Karnataka
13:12 GMT 08.02.2022 (Updated: 10:42 GMT 19.07.2022)
In January, an intense row erupted in the state of Karnataka after authorities at a women's pre-university college barred Muslim girls from entering their classrooms while wearing a hijab. Last week, multiple students from the district of Udupi filed a petition with the High Court seeking permission to wear hijabs in their college.
Protests erupted at several places in the district of Udupi in the Indian state of Karnataka on Tuesday, as the state's High Court was set to hear a plea filed by five Muslim girls against a hijab ban in classrooms.
In their plea, the young women said that the Indian Constitution guarantees them the freedom to wear what they want, and if they are forced to remove their hijab, it's a violation of their religious freedom.
On Tuesday morning, clashes erupted among students outside the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College in the Udupi district where some students in saffron scarves, and those supporting the Muslim girls became involved in an altercation.
Over the last few weeks, as the Muslim girls remained adamant on wearing hijabs, many Hindu students in a sign of protest have started coming to the college wearing saffron shawls - the colour generally preferred by Hindu holy men is also viewed as a symbol of the Hindu faith.
Protest at MGM college in Udupi over #Karnataka #HijabRow. Students wear orange scarves and turbans and chant Jai Shivaji and #JaiShriRam pic.twitter.com/VPkKvMuJCL— Nivedita Niranjankumar (@BombayBombil) February 8, 2022
Female Student Heckled
A 90-second video appearing to depict a confrontation between a Muslim girl student and saffron-scarf wearing boys at the Mandya Pre-University College has surfaced on social media.
It shows a burqa-clad girl parking her scooter and walking towards the college building as some students wearing saffron scarves chant the Hindu religious slogan "Jai Shri Ram" (Glory to Lord Rama) while chasing her. She then faces the crowd, and shouts: "Allahu Akbar" (God is great).
The college's administration later escorts the girl inside the institution's premises.
Full video. pic.twitter.com/rUvjJZuThe— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) February 8, 2022
Separately, a male student was hurt in a stone-throwing incident at the Government Pre-University College in Rabakavi Banahatti in the state.
According to a media report, unidentified miscreants threw stones at the college during a protest by two groups of students. The police later rushed to the spot and managed to get the situation under control.
Muslims (men) pelted stones on college & students in #Banahatti town after students clad with saffron stoles didn't allow Muslim girls to enter college in burka & hijab....@BangaloreMirror #Hijab #UdupiHijabIssue pic.twitter.com/42eaJEzQSy— AB🚩🇮🇳🕉️ (@ForeverIndian07) February 8, 2022
You know, who began pelting stones on college & H students in Banahatti town. #BamHijab #HijabRow— Treeni (@_treeni) February 8, 2022
A few colleges in the state have also declared holiday for an indefinite period until the government succeeds in offering any concrete solution to the ongoing issue.
In the past few weeks, confrontations between groups of students on the issue of hijabwearing have spread to many colleges in Karnataka.
On Tuesday, Karnataka State Chief Basavaraj Bommai asked students to adhere to the state government's rules regarding uniforms until the High Court addresses the issue over wearing headscarves in classes. He has also ordered closure of schools and colleges for next three days.
The Karnataka High Court, which heard the case on Tuesday, will hear it again on Wednesday.