Saffron-clad, hijab-wearing students face off at Karnataka college amid tensions

Updated on Feb 08, 2022 01:18 PM IST

Protests at the college began in December when at least six students were barred from attending classes for wearing hijabs or headscarves

The principal of the college speaking with hijab-clad students. (AFP)
The principal of the college speaking with hijab-clad students. (AFP)
BySharan Poovanna

UDUPI: Saffron-clad and hijab-wearing students at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College in Karnataka’s Udupi faced off on Tuesday as they raised “we want justice” and “Jai Shri Ram” slogans while the former jumped the institute’s gates and forced police and teachers to separate them.

At least 30 students, aged between 17 and 21 years and dressed in bright saffron turbans and scarves, stormed the college campus. They earlier staged a protest demanding they be allowed inside the college. “They [Muslim] girls were allowed inside with hijab, then why are we not allowed?” asked a student. “This is wrong and the rules should be equal for everybody,” said another, requesting not to be named.

The students said ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological fountainhead Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and their affiliates Bajrang Dal and : Hindu Jagarana Vedike gave them saffron shawls and turbans.

Protests at the college began in December when at least six students were barred from attending classes for wearing hijabs or headscarves. The counter-protests followed later.

The Karnataka high court was expected to hear a plea over the ban on Tuesday.

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