Right-wing groups gave us scarves: Students | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Right-wing groups gave us scarves: Students

BySharan Poovanna, Udupi
Feb 10, 2022 05:14 AM IST

People familiar with the matter said that the protests seemed to be very well organised, with strings being pulled over WhatsApp.

Saffron scarves and turbans sported by students during protests at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (MGM) college in Udupi over the hijab issue were given to them by members of the Bajrang Dal and Hindu Jagrana Vedike, three students who were part of the protest said on condition of anonymity

The hijab controversy erupted last month when eight Muslim girls at the government pre-university college in Udupi alleged they were denied entry to classrooms after they started wearing headscarves. (HT File)
The hijab controversy erupted last month when eight Muslim girls at the government pre-university college in Udupi alleged they were denied entry to classrooms after they started wearing headscarves. (HT File)

People familiar with the matter added that the protests seemed to be very well organised, with strings being pulled over WhatsApp.

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“Even in our college, we need to end this hijab issue within this academic year, and it is essential that all of us fight to safeguard uniformity. So, for this, all students must compulsorily on Monday bring saffron shawls and keep them in their bags until the organiser’s instructions. And after the instructions, wear them on the shoulder and then enter the college,” one WhatsApp message from one of the college students read.

HT has seen a copy of the message which was sent on WhatsApp by one person who is associated with the college.

Prashant Nayak, the district president of the Hindu Jagrana Vedike denied that his organisation had coordinated any of the material used in the protest.

“Till date everything that has happened, has all been done by students and we are not involved in it,” Nayak told HT.

Also Read | Karnataka CJ-led bench to hear hijab pleas today

“We don’t get to know what happens inside the college and what students are deciding and how we can supply these shawls and other things. We don’t have to supply a shawl which is about 70. The students have themselves arranged the same and this is an example of what students can do,” he said.

The hijab controversy erupted last month when eight Muslim girls at the government pre-university college in Udupi alleged they were denied entry to classrooms after they started wearing headscarves.

The single judge of the Karnataka court on Wednesday decided to refer the case related to ban on Hijab in school-colleges to the chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi for setting up of a larger bench to look into Constitutional validity of the ban.

Justice Krishna N Dixit while hearing a bunch of petitions against the ban filed by Muslim girls from Udupi district, where most number of protests have happened, said that the issues raised during the hearing has given rise to certain constitutional questions of seminal important in view of certain aspects of personal law.

One of the people cited above claimed the WhatsApp message was sent to all student groups. This person, who asked not to be named, said some teachers sought to find out who was orchestrating the protests.

“We are all together and group leaders,” was the response, this person said.

The person cited above also said that the management was aware that such a protest was being planned.

Also Read | Karnataka hijab controversy reaches AMU campus, students call for protest march

After the protests, the students were allowed to keep the shawls, but the saffron turbans had to be returned, said another person familiar with the matter.

But it wasn’t all one-way.

The Campus Front of India’s name has repeatedly come up in relation to the decision by the six students at the Udupi college to suddenly sport hijabs, the spark that lit the fire.

“The Sangha (right-wing organisations), ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) and others are provoking students in Karnataka,” said Athaullah Punjalkatty, the state president of CFI.

Nayak said that it was the CFI who had taken children across the state and brainwashed them to oppose being with the Hindu’s and brought up the Hijab issue.

“Innocent children talking like this and talking back to teachers who have taught them this far, they are called Gurus, irrespective of religion. This is their agenda that this country should be broken up and feast off of this,” Nayak said.

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