Police in Karnataka have registered a case against a Bajrang Dal teen girl for delivering an incendiary speech on the hijab row in the state. Identified as Pooja Veerashetty, the 19-year-old reportedly gave a call for Muslim genocide at an event in Vijayapura district, where people had gathered to outrage the death of a Bajrang Dal worker earlier this month.
"If you ask for water, Indians will give you juice. If you ask for milk, we’ll give you buttermilk. But, if you want the hijab all over India, we will chop you all with Shivaji’s sword," Veerashetty is quoted saying in a video that surfaced on social media last week.
According to New Indian Express, police in Gol Gumbaz registered a suo moto case on February 27 against Veerashetty under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which include promoting religious enmity and criminal intimidation. Police have refrained from confirming whether the accused was arrested or not.
Veerashetty is a graduate student. Her speech came to light in the wake of the hijab row in Karnataka, where groups of students in colleges and schools are urging authorities to let them wear their religious headscarves during lessons. The conflict was first reported from Udupi last December and has since spread to other campuses. Follow updates here.
Amid the hijab issue, the death of a 27-year-old man, who worked with Bajrang Dal, was reported from Shivamogga on February 21. He was allegedly stabbed to death. The incident sparked a wave of protests from Hindu right-wing organisations that alleged a communal angle in the matter.
It was at one such event that Veerashetty reportedly made her speech in the presence of a 500-strong crowd that is heard cheering her on in the viral video.
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"India is saffron... Let the government give us just one hour and not just these six girls in hijab, we’ll cut 60,000 in hijabs into pieces," she allegedly said in her speech.
Speaking to The Wire, Veerashetty said she did not make her speech for "all Muslims" but was trying to bring notice to "these six anti-national girls who are trying to divide this country." Several Muslim girls have filed petitions in the Karnataka High Court seeking permission to be allowed inside classrooms with their hijabs. The court last week reserved its verdict on the matter.