Right-wing activists allegedly forced students of a girls’ college in Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh to remove their scarves saying they were “symbols of western culture”, the victims said on Thursday.
The activists were from the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Durga Vahini, a women’s group.
The incident, which took place on Wednesday, came barely a few days after two Kashmiri students were assaulted in Bhopal, also by right-wing groups.
Students of the Government Postgraduate College said they lodged a complaint with the principal but the administration was allegedly trying to hush up the matter.
According to a report, the ABVP and Durga Vahini workers reached the college and asked the teaching staff how they could allow girls to cover their faces with scarves – a practice popular with girls to shield themselves from the sun and pollution.
The workers then went on to remove the scarves right in front of the faculty members.
Defending the move, ABVP member Prashant Shukla said, “By covering the face, girls are inviting problems for themselves. It is a symbol of western culture; we don’t understand the reason behind use of the veil. If they really feel insecure, police are there for their safety.”
Requesting anonymity, a student said, “We lodged a complaint with the college principal, NM Awasthi, but he didn’t take any action.” The principal, however, said he had no information about the alleged incident.
State Congress youth president Kunal Chaudhary said, “This is a highly objectionable act of ABVP workers. How could they interfere in the private life of any person?”