Hijab Controversy: Kashmir MPs Walkout, Allege The Row Is Spilling Over

SRINAGAR: The Hijab controversy that the rightwing triggered in Karnataka is gradually spilling around and Jammu and Kashmir is unlikely to stay unscathed. In Jammu and Kashmir Hijab is part of the formal female dress within and outside the home.

Hijab in Muslim culture has its own diversity: A BBC illustration

On Wednesday, reports appearing in media said National Conference Members of Parliament Dr Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi and Muhammad Akbar Lone staged a walkout in Lok Sabha in protest against Karnataka’s failure in handling the issue.

Insisting that the dress of women should be left to the individual choices, the lawmakers said that the row is gradually spilling to other colleges in Karnataka. They termed the handling of the issue “shoddy” and asserted the inaction reflected of “endemic patriarchy and communal mindset”. Karnataka is ruled by BJP with Basavaraj Bommai as the Chief Minister since July 2021.

The controversy erupted early this week when a young college girl in Hijab was seen heckled by a group of right-wing activists carrying saffron flags. Ever since the video clip of the incident has gone viral on social media.

The Times of India identified the girl as Bibi Muskan Khan, a student of a Mandya college. As the Muslim women protested, the Karnataka government closed colleges and schools for three days.

The people in Jammu and Kashmir have also used social media to respond to the incident. Rajouri emerged as the only place in Jammu and Kashmir where, according to reports appearing in the media, clergy came out in a symbolic protest. After a meeting of religious preachers at Markazi Jamia Masjid Rajouri, the clergy asked the government to intervene and protect the religious and constitutional rights of the women.

In the backdrop of the Hijab controversy, media reports said the Karnataka police have restarted carrying out background checks of the students from Jammu and Kashmir. A similar exercise was carried out after the Pulwama attack in 2018.

“Around 25,000 students from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are pursuing nursing, engineering and other courses in Karnataka, of which more than 10,000 are in Bengaluru,” The New Indian Express reported. The students, the newspaper said have resented the action saying that while their universities have every detail about them, they are being asked to offer details afresh in the midst of the Hijab row. The newspaper said while some colleges confirmed the police asked for fresh details, the government said nothing of such information is being sought.

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