ISLAMABAD, Feb 8 (APP): The cowardice of Hindutvavadis exposed in Narendra Modi’s India as a lone Hijab-wearing girl student was heckled by RSS goons in saffron shawls at a Karnataka college who daringly shouted Allah-o-Akbar.
“Since I started studying (here), I’ve always worn the burqa and hijab. When I entered class, I removed the burqa… Principal has said nothing, outsiders started this,” Muskan, a student who was heckled by a saffron scarf group told NDTV.
As she parked her scooter in the parking, the saffron scarf group shouted at her and tried to surround her, but she remained unafraid and continued walking towards the college building.
It has been a month since the students of a state-run school in Udupi District of Indian state of Karnataka started their campaign after they were barred from entering their classrooms while wearing hijab.
The story cascaded across the internet, and the students began protesting outside the school gate, reading their lessons.
Instead of pacifying the situation, other schools also started enforcing ban on hijab, out of fears of the RSS goons who also simultaneously started shouting pro-Hindutva slogans to worsen the situation.
The state machinery seems to be helpless before the saffron scarf group. Instead, some ruling party members are issuing statements to defend ban on hijab which encouraged the RSS members to provoke the situation.
Having failed to control the situation, the Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai announced the closure of all schools and colleges in the state for three days as the controversy over students wearing hijab on campus intensified, with violence reported from several districts.
Even in some areas, the Hindu girls wearing saffron shawls appeared in the colleges to protest against the hijab-wearing fellows and defend the ban.
“Hindu girl students wearing Saffron shawls, came to College to protest against Muslim girls wearing Hijab! India is heading towards its dark era in history,” said a Twitterati Mannu.
“What we are witnessing is a form of religious apartheid. The decree is discriminatory and it disproportionately affects Muslim women,” A. H. Almas told AP, an 18-year-old student who has been part of the protests.
So far, several meetings between the staff, government representatives and the protesting students have failed to resolve the issue. The state’s education minister, B.C. Nagesh, has also refused to lift the ban. He said “those unwilling to follow uniform dress code can explore other options.”
The episode drew an ire of the sane minds including the Bollywood celebrities, media personalities, intellectuals and politicians condemning the Modi government for taking the country to that low.
“As always, it takes a pack of men to attempt to intimidate a woman. Such frightened, pathetic excuses for human beings. Brandishing their shawls as weapons, cloaking their weakness in cruelty. A sizeable section of a rudderless generation lost to hate,” said India film-maker Pooja Bhatt on Twitter.
Commenting on Muskan being heckled by RSS goons, Nafeesur Rehman Durrani, said, “We know for a fact that this student will not be honored with any awards nobel or anything else but instead will be hounded all her life by mainstream bigots.”
“Too many clothes, too few clothes. Too revealing, too covered up. What is so intimidating about young women who want to learn and wish to wear what they choose?,” Mitali Mukherjee, an Indian journalist said.
Even at a college, the RSS activists had replaced the national flag with saffron flag with many others shouting Jai Sri Ram around.
President of Karnataka Congress DK Shivakumar said the replacement of the national flag with saffron one was the violation of the rules. He also suggested the closure of educations institutions for a week.
“What have they converted my country and my faith into! Chhi,” an India author Vaibhav Vishal wrote on Twitter.
“A new video from Karnataka shows a young student in a hijab being chased by Jai Shri Ram slogan-shouting men. This is what bigotry does to a nation: divides us on dress, food and religion. When we should be worried about jobs for young, we focus on their dress! Shameful,” said an Indian news anchor Rajdeep Sardesai said.
“Shameful state of affairs,” said a Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker who had always been vocal against human rights violations in India.