A girl wearing hijab in Mangaluru in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district was heckled for wearing her headscarf allegedly by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the students’ wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
The incident came amid a controversy on wearing the hijab in the state. Students of the state’s Government Women’s Pre-University College have been protesting since January after they were not allowed to attend classes while being dressed in a hijab. The protests have spread across the state.
On February 5, the Karnataka government had passed an order banning clothes that “disturb equality, integrity and public order”. On February 10, a three-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court had barred the students in Karnataka from wearing “religious clothes” in schools and colleges until further orders. The High Court has reserved its verdict.
The incident happened after the girl, along with her classmates, was appearing for her examination at the Dr P Dayananda Pai-P Satisha Pai Government First Grade College on Thursday. The principal had allowed the girls to wear a piece of cloth around their head while appearing for the test, reported India Today.
In a video of the incident, the members of the students’ wing can be seen confronting the girl and telling her not to talk. They can be seen making hand gestures and saying “this is my college”.
The girls retorts, asking if the college was their father’s, and tells them to leave since it was not their college. “I’ve come here of my own will,” she said.
Others seen in the video can also be heard telling the male students to leave as it was not their college.
The student has filed a complaint with the police. In her complaint, she alleged that four students – Sai Sandesh, Samanth Alva, Sanath Shetty and Nitesh Shetty – along with 15 others had entered the examination centre at the college and asked her and her classmates to stop writing the test.
The girl claimed that all of them belonged to students’ wing of the RSS.
She said that the members of the students’ wing took videos of her and her classmates and verbally abused them. The girl added that the same students abused them again on Saturday.
“The [girl] students were called anti-nationals, terrorists and other communal slurs and even threatened [with] physical assault and created an atmosphere of fear,” the complaint said.
Students protesting against the hijab ban have been heckled too.
In February, a mob of men wearing saffron scarves had heckled a girl in hijab as she entered her college. In a video of the incident, the mob is seen charging towards her, shouting “Jai Shree Ram” (victory to deity Ram). As the crowd approaches, the woman retorts by shouting “Allah-hu-Akbar”, which means “Allah is the greatest”.
Karnataka’s primary and secondary education minister had defended the mob, saying that the “students didn’t want to gherao the girl”. Nagesh had also questioned why the woman got provoked to shout “Allah-hu-Akbar” when “no other student was around her”. However, in the video, it could be seen that the mob was chasing her and shouting slogans at her face.
On February 21, a group of unidentified people had pelted stones at a restaurant belonging to the father of one of the six girls from Udupi who had approached the Karnataka High Court against the ban.
On February 11, the phone numbers of the six Muslim students who have been protesting for their right to wear hijabs in their college in Karnataka’s Udupi district were shared on social media.