Hijab-Wearing Muslim Students Barred From Joining Classes In Karnataka College
Hijab-wearing Muslim students continue to face discrimination and humiliation at a college in Udupi city in Karnataka state, where an anti-hijab ban has been in place for three weeks. The anti-Muslim policy began on December 31, 2021, when the college announced the hijab ban. Any students who protested the discriminatory treatment by continuing to wear the hijab were marked as “absent” since then.
Their parents approached principal Rudra Gowda to talk about the issue, but she refused to hold any discussions on the matter, and instead allowed the students to be harassed and mistreated by their teachers. The dehumanizing treatment has had an impact on the students’ mental health as well. One parent reported that his daughter had fallen sick due to the “mental torture” she was facing from the school faculty.
“They asked us to sit on the stairs. It felt uncomfortable and humiliating. We used the time to study among ourselves using some notes that we borrowed from other students attending classes,” said Aliya, a student. She added that a teacher threatened to “push them out” if they did not leave the classroom.
Barring Muslim women from education because of the way they choose to dress is the latest form of normalized hatred against minorities in Karnataka, where a recently passed anti-conversion law has made it easy for Hindu extremists to intimidate, harass, attack, and detain Muslims and Christians with impunity. The hijab ban also goes against India’s constitutionally mandated secularism.
Gun-Toting Indian Soldiers Force Hostile Takeover Of Journalist Organization In Kashmir
Outrage erupted in Kashmir on January 15 after a group of journalists openly backed by the local Indian-administered government forcibly took over the Kashmir Press Club (KPC), the largest independent media body in the region, in a blatant attempt to suppress media coverage of India’s ongoing atrocities against Kashmiris.
“A group of journalists barged into the club office and forcibly took control of the club by keeping the office members hostage. A large number of police and paramilitary personnel were deployed beforehand for this highly condemnable and completely illegal move,” the outgoing KPC office-bearers said in a statement. “This move, in which a group of journalists self-appointed itself as an ‘interim body’ is uncivil, illegal, unconstitutional and without any precedent.”
The Editors Guild of India, India’s most respected organization of journalists, also condemned the KPC takeover. In a statement, the Guild called the hostile and illegal takeover a “manifestation of the continuing trend to smother press freedom” in the region.
Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister Kashmir, also condemned the takeover: “Today’s state-sponsored coup at KPC would put the worst dictators to shame. State agencies here are too busy overthrowing elected bodies & firing government employees instead of discharging their actual duties. Shame on those who aided & facilitated this coup against their own fraternity.”
Suppression of free speech is rampant in Indian-administered Kashmir, where journalists and civilians alike have been detained and labeled as terrorists for sharing local news, including Twitter statements, photos, and videos of protests.
Ex Army Men Say Anti-Muslim Hate Speech Will Lower Army Morale, Ask Supreme Court For Probe
Three former Indian army officers have moved India’s Supreme Court seeking a special probe into the genocidal hate speeches made by Hindu extremist leaders in Haridwar city last month. Major General SG Vombatkere, Colonel PK Nair, and Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury warned the court that if left unchecked, this type of violent anti-minority hate speech could have a significant impact on the unity and morale of Indian troops, who come from all faiths and backgrounds.
“From personal experience, it is felt that such hate speeches can even affect the battle-efficiency of our armed forces and in turn compromise national security,” the army officers said in their petition to the Supreme Court. Adding that these violent speeches are both criminal and unconstitutional, they said, “These speeches stain the secular fabric of the nation and also have serious potential to impact public order adversely.”
Despite the multitude of speakers at the Haridwar hate speech event, including a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), only two people have been arrested under charges of hate speech.