Outrage is simmering at a college in Karnataka’s Shivamogga, one of the sites of the hijab row, after a college girl allegedly sent a picture of the Pakistan flag on a WhatsApp group. For weeks now, groups of girls in Karnataka have been seeking permission from educational institutions to be allowed inside classrooms with their religious headscarves on.
This was reportedly a point of discussion on the study chat group where the flag of the neighbouring country, which is presently on unfriendly terms with India, was allegedly sent.
According to news agency IANS, students are making active demands to slap sedition charges on the accused girl and ensure she is removed from the college. Members of the right-wing group Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) have also made said calls.
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An India Today report claims the girl’s message comprised Pakistani flag stickers and was countered by some students who then shared stickers of the Indian flag. Protests were held in Shivamogga on Tuesday following the flag incident.
ABVP members were allegedly responsible for bringing the flag incident to the notice of the college authorities. The principal of the institution was quoted saying that the girl’s parents were sent a notice but haven’t yet marked their presence before the college yet.
Shivamogga was the centre of heated protests last month when a young Bajrang Dal worker was reportedly killed. As per reports, the area was communally sensitive and police said six people were involved in the murder, which seemed to have been prompted by some previous enmity.
Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra had said there was no link between the Shivamogga murder and the ongoing hijab row.
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The hijab protests erupted after some Muslim girls in Udupi claimed they had not been allowed to attend their junior college classes with their hijabs on. The campus authorities cited uniform rules in their defence. The issue spread to other parts of the state, with similar conflicts breaking out between students and authorities over the hijab.
The Karnataka High Court was hearing the matter, following petitions by some Muslim girls, and reserved its judgment last month. Follow updates in the hijab row here.