The Karnataka hijab controversy escalated on Wednesday, with the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) targeting each other over the issue. While the Congress accused the BJP of instigating students, leaders of the ruling party alleged Congress’s role behind the hijab row.
Here’s a look at the showdown between the Congress and the BJP over the Karnataka Hijab row:
BJP SAYS CONGRESS BEHIND ‘BIRTH OF HIJAB ROW’
On Tuesday, BJP Karnataka said in a tweet that “the Congress is behind the birth of the hijab row”.
“We have been saying the Congress is behind the birth of the hijab row. An advocate arguing in favor of hijab in the high court is the Congress’ legal cell representative. Do we need another example to say Congress is working towards breaking the society?,” the BJP Karnataka said.
Responding to the BJP’s allegation, the lawyer concerned Devadatt Kamat tweeted, “I, fortunately, live in a free country. As a counsel, I appear and argue any case I am instructed in. No third party much less a political party can question my choice of a brief! (sic)”
Early Wednesday, BJP’s IT department in-charge Amit Malviya said young girls are being asked to choose hijab over education.
“What we are seeing in Karnataka is anything but the quest for knowledge. Young girls, in the name of faith, are being asked to choose hijab over education,” Amit Malviya said.
“Is the right to wear a hijab a Constitutional right? Religious freedom under Art 25 is subject to Constitutional morality and the State can legitimately restrict it on grounds of public order and morality. What if women in uniformed services start demanding right to wear hijab? ” Amit Malviya said in another tweet.
Art 30 of the constitution provides minority run institutions, both linguistic and religious, unfettered right to run them, so as to preserver their culture and beliefs. You can’t claim religious freedom under Art 25 in both state run secular institutions and those under Art 30. https://t.co/j6iM2KBRjp
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) February 9, 2022
Meanwhile, Karnataka Energy Minister Sunil Kumar hit out at the Congress and said that If the Congress comes to power, they are likely to make a law that asks Hindus to wear hijab.
“If Congress people’s mandate, they might even get a law that says all Hindus should wear hijab. Siddaramaiah and Congress should come out of such mentality. Yesterday, DKShivakumar made false that flag was removed. He stood by false statements,” alleged Sunil Kumar.
HOW CONGRESS REACTED TO KARNATAKA HIJAB ROW
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said a woman has the right to decide what she wants to wear.
She tweeted, “Whether it is a bikini, a ghoonghat, a pair of jeans or a hijab, it is a woman’s right to decide what she wants to wear. This right is GUARANTEED by the Indian constitution. Stop harassing women.”
Whether it is a bikini, a ghoonghat, a pair of jeans or a hijab, it is a woman’s right to decide what she wants to wear.
This right is GUARANTEED by the Indian constitution. Stop harassing women. #ladkihoonladsaktihoon
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) February 9, 2022
Meanwhile, in an interview with India Today TV, Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar accused the BJP of instigating students and called out the government for failing to control the violence.
“The BJP is provoking the entire issue, Today you see that a saffron flag was put in place of the Tricolor in Shimoga. Firing is going on. They are not able to control the institutions,” DK Shivakumar said.
Karnataka hijab showdown: Congress accuses BJP of instigating students, claims state failed to control the violence. Listen to what Congress leader @DKShivakumar said. ,@ShivAroor, pic.twitter.com/U4utQ7qoV9
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) February 8, 2022
When asked about the alleged incident of the Tricolor being replaced with a saffron flag at a college in Shimoga district, Shivakumar said it was a shameful incident.
“The National Flag is the pride of our country. Today it was brought down and a saffron flag was put in its place. The entire world is looking at Karnataka. It’s a shameful event,” he said.
In the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed that atrocities are being committed against people who wear Hijab and demanded a statement from the government on the growing controversy on the issue in Karnataka, news agency PTI reported.
WHAT IS THE KARNATAKA HIJAB ROW?
The controversy over hijab (headscarf) in Karnataka began on January 1, 2022, when Muslim schoolgirls at Udupi Women’s Pre-University college attended classes wearing hijab.
Since then, multiple incidents have taken place all over Karnataka where Muslim girls have come to classes wearing hijabs and Hindu students began wearing saffron shawls as a sign of protest.
On Tuesday, Jai Shri Ram chants by students wearing saffron scarves were retailed to with screams of Allah hu Akbar by Muslim girls donning hijab at a college in Udupi district.
Recently, the Karnataka government ordered a ban on clothes that disturb equality, integrity and public order in schools and colleges.
As the situation turned violent, the Karnataka government even decided to shut down schools for three days.
Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka said, “The government is not in favor of either hijab or Kesari”.
“Students can wear whatever they want on streets, but dress code is compulsory in schools. We closed schools and colleges as a precautionary measure for students’ safety. Congress is behind this politics,” R Ashoka was quoted by ANI as saying.
Also, Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said, “Action will be taken wherever unpleasant things have happened. Police have registered cases. We have arrested a few people, they are outsiders, not students, after inquiry, we will let you know.”