Campus Front of India(CFI), the student wing of the Islamist organisation PFI seems to be behind manufacturing the hijab issue in Udupi, Karnataka. The students who initiated the protest were in contact with CFI before they started wearing hijab to the college and had sought their help in getting the college management to allow hijab.
The Kundapur Government girls pre-University in Udupi has been in news for not allowing students wearing religious attire into classrooms. The issue started when some Muslim girls alleged that they were not allowed to wear hijab to the school. But in truth they were demanding to be allowed to wear hijab inside the classrooms. The issue popped up after students of a college in Udupi alleged that they were not allowed to wear hijab. Following this protests errupted in many parts of the state and non-Muslim students started wearing saffron scarves in protest. The News Minute, which reported the Udupi issue in its initial stages, points out the CFI link and the possibility of the issue being fomented by them.
As per the TNM report, in October some Muslim girls had attended a protest organised by ABVP. The photos of the protest shared in social media caught the attention of CFI which called up the girls and “informed” them about ABVP. After they were “counseled” by CFI leaders they joined the organisation. Some of these specific students are among the 8 students that started the issue of wearing hijab as well.
They claimed that they thought their parents had signed some form about not wearing hijab. Allegedly they came to know that there was no such clause in that form and so decided to wear the hijab. Their parents reportedly tried to convince the college management about allowing hijab but couldn’t. “We approached the CFI (over the hijab issue) after talks between parents and the college authorities did not lead anywhere”, one of the students told TNM.
It is clear that CFI not only brainwashed ordinary students into thinking that the organisation fights for their rights, but appears to have goaded them into wearing hijab and making a scene. The principal of the college has said that hijab is not totally banned but not allowed only during the class hours and inside classrooms. This has been the norm for a longtime in educational institutions. What could have prompted the girls to make it a point of contention all of a sudden especially after coming into contact with CFI?
The issue has been going on for months with the active support of CFI and Students Islamic Organisation (SIO), the students wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. Curiously, even though Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is an offshoot of the Islamist organisation Jamaat-e-Islami formed after the partition, it felt that CFI was taking it too far. “We want to diplomatically resolve the issue in the college. We don’t agree with the language used by CFI to resolve this issue and we are hoping to continue the dialogue to resolve it”, a member of the SIO said.
Yahspal Suvarna, the Vice President of the College Development Committee told The Wire that even though there 150 Muslim students studying in the college none of them have made this demand and pointed out that the 8 girls, CFI members, want to create a controversy. He rightly pointed out that if their demand to wear hijab inside classrooms is allowed today they’ll demand to allow performing namaz inside the campus next.
It shows that CFI has intentionally raked up this issue to either hide or confront something else. While the local politics could be one reason, the possibility that it could have been staged to suppress the issue of the death of Lavanya. The 17 year old girl had consumed pesticide as she was tortured by the nuns in her Christian school for not agreeing to convert. The issue gained attention throughout the nation and the ills of missionary schools were discussed widely. It also renewed the demand for anti-conversion law.
Karnataka had recently passed the anti-forced conversion bill and what other state could be the best to rake up such an issue? The girls protesting for hijab asked when Hindu girls are allowed to wear bindi, kumkum, etc and Hindu festivals are celebrated in the college, why shouldn’t they be allowed to wear the hijab. No girl wearing Hindu religious symbols would force it upon others or give religious lessons to the followers of other faiths. But hijabis have been forcing it upon other women as well.
In September 2021, Girls Islamic Organisation, the women’s wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, distributed pamphlets about Hijab Day (Hijab day is on February 1) in Nagpur, and “encouraged” Hindu girls aged between 15-25 to wear hijab. But the local Hindus were alert and countered the Muslim women distributing pamphlets saying this is how they gradually impose Sharia on non-Muslims and convert innocent girls. It is such incidents that have made Hindus weary of the hijab.
The case of Hadia @ Akhila, a Hindu girl who was converted to Islam by her Muslim classmates who were associated with PFI are also to be noted here. Hadia was introduced to Islam in her college where she met Muslim girls wearing hijab, burqa and offering namaz 5 times a day. She was formally converted by Sathya Sarani, a wing of PFI. She was introduced to the organisation by the father of her Muslim friend in college. She was married off to Shefin Jehan by PFI which arranged the marriage. Shefin Jehan was a member of CFI and ran the FB page of PFI’s political arm SDPI.
Such incidents and the fear they cause cannot be dismissed. Muslims should either stick to the law of the land or leave or establish their own institutions to follow their religious diktats. Those who oppose allowing hijab inside classrooms are asked how can a secular nation allow Hindu pujas but not hijab, Mysuru MP Pratap Simha gave a fitting reply. He said in a press meet, “To those who question worshipping of Saraswathi, Ganesh and wearing of bangles and vermillion (forehead marks), this is not British India. This is Bharat. The basic foundation of this land is Hinduism. We are not asking permission to wear vermillion bangles in Mecca, Madina or Jerusalem”.
He said that those who did not go to the two Islamic nations carved out of Bharat, should respect the culture of the land. Calling Christianity and Islam as foreign religions, he stated that they have no right to question Hindus. The Primary and Secondary Education Department of the Karnataka government has issued an order mandating a uniform dress code in all the institutions run by the government