Karnataka school ban on hijab stays as Supreme Court judges split on verdict
The ban on wearing hijab in some of Karnataka state’s schools and colleges will stay in effect as the Supreme Court on Thursday failed to deliver a clear verdict on appeals against that ban.
“We have a divergence of opinion,” Justice Hemant Gupta, one of two judges on the bench, said.
Gupta said he had wanted to keep the ban while the other judge, Sudhanshu Dhulia, wanted to throw it out on the ground that wearing the hijab was a “matter of choice.”
Karnataka’s hijab ban came in February and immediately unleashed widespread protests by Muslim students and the community, with global condemnation.
In response, Hindu students had staged counter-protests in support of the ban.
After the state’s high court upheld the government’s ban, around 17,000 Muslim students skipped exams. Rather than urgently addressing the hijab ban when it was first banned, the Supreme Court delayed hearing challenges against the court order for several months, resulting in thousands of Muslim women and girls being forced to choose between their education and what they consider essential religious clothing.
BJP lawmaker calls for a boycott of Muslim henna artists during Hindu festival
In yet more anti-Muslim hate speech, a Hindu extremist outfit, the Hindu Mahasabha, has called for the boycott of Muslim henna artists during a Hindu religious festival.
The extremist group warned of consequences if any Muslim artist applied henna on the hands of Hindu women in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district.
Another Hindu extremist organization, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), opened 13 henna stalls and tasked its members to ensure that Muslim artists do not apply henna to Hindu women.
A Hindu supremacist legislator in Uttar Pradesh state, Vikram Saini, said the intention of Muslim henna artists was to carry out “love jihad,” and so they should be banned. Saini belongs to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also rules Uttar Pradesh.
“Love jihad” is a bogus and false propaganda run by extremist Hindu forces claiming that Muslim men lure non-Muslim girls, trick them into marriage, and force them to accept Islam.
Journalist Rana Ayyub booked for money laundering
India’s federal authorities have filed charges in court against internationally acclaimed Washington Post columnist Rana Ayyub, who is a vocal critic of the Modi government and Hindu supremacism, accusing her of laundering money.
In a blatant attempt by the Modi government to intimidate Ayyub, a federal probe agency alleged irregularities in funds collected by her for relief work during the pandemic last year.
The charge sheet was filed on the basis of a First Information Report (FIR) lodged by a Hindu supremacist associate Vikas Sankrityayan, who is the founder of an organization called “Hindu IT Cell.”
Ayyub has denied the allegations that she diverted funds for personal use.
“It is abundantly clear that no part of the relief campaign fund remains unaccounted for, and there is absolutely no scope for any remote allegation of misuse of the funds for personal expenses,” Ayyub said.
In the statement, the vocal critic of the ruling BJP said she is “confident that the allegations leveled against me will not withstand any fair and honest scrutiny.”
Muslim man lynched, another seriously injured by Hindu extremist mob in Uttar Pradesh
A 32-year-old Muslim man, Zaheer Khan, was lynched to death while another Muslim, Yusuf Khan, 30, was seriously injured after a mob attacked them in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj district.
In a video of the incident, the accused are seen thrashing the victims with sticks.
Yusuf Khan sustained serious injuries on his legs and hands and is undergoing treatment at the hospital. Zaheer Khan’s wife Jahira has filed a lodged complaint at the police station.
“We have identified four persons and raids are on to trace them,” said a police officer.
In Uttar Pradesh particularly, senior members of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and powerful Hindu extremist groups routinely encourage violence against Muslims and protect the perpetrators.