An engineering college in Karnataka’s Mangaluru city has suspended four students after a video of them dancing to a Hindi song wearing burqas was shared widely on social media, The Times of India reported on Friday.

In the video, they are seen at an event organised by the students’ association of the St Joseph Engineering College. The college authorities said in a statement that the dance was not part of the approved programme.

“The video clip being circulated in social media has captured a part of the dance by students of the Muslim community itself who barged on stage,” the college said. “The college does not support or condone any activities that could harm the harmony between communities and everyone.”

Hijab controversy in Karnataka

A controversy erupted in the southern state in December last year after a group of Muslim students of the Government Women’s Pre-University College in Udupi city were not allowed to attend classes for being dressed in hijab. The students staged a protest, and similar demonstrations were held in other parts of Karnataka.

Hindu students and mobs of men protested against Muslim women wearing hijabs to educational institutes. At some colleges, Muslim students were heckled, while in another case, some men climbed up a flagpole to plant a saffron flag and broke into classrooms.

In February, the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state issued an order banning clothes in educational institutes which “disturb equality, integrity and public order”. The order was challenged in the court, but the Karnataka High Court, on March 15, upheld the ban observing that the hijab was not an essential part of Islam and thus could not be protected under the fundamental right to religion.

The petitioners then moved the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order.

On October 13, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court gave a split verdict on the matter. Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia set aside the High Court ruling and quashed the state government’s order in his judgement. Meanwhile, Justice Hemant Gupta dismissed the appeals