Violence Breaks Out In Karnataka Over Hijab Protest; Student Beaten As BJP Leader Watches; Police Teargas, Baton-Charge Students - IAMC

Violence Breaks Out In Karnataka Over Hijab Protest; Student Beaten As BJP Leader Watches; Police Teargas, Baton-Charge Students

Violence broke out across Karnataka state over the raging debate over Muslim women’s right to wear the hijab in college in several instances. After Hindu extremists protesting the hijab began to clash with a group of Muslim protestors on a college campus in the state’s Davanagere district, violence broke out, resulting in the police shooting the students with tear gas shells and charging at them with batons. Several students were injured, leading to prohibitory orders being clamped on two towns.  

In the Bagalkot district, Manjunath Naik, a teacher, was beaten over the head with iron rods after an outbreak of violence following a student protest. He sustained severe injuries and is now being treated at a hospital.

Though state leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist and extremist-affiliated party, have been vocal in condemning the hijab-wearing students as “indisciplined” and telling them to go to Pakistan, many of them have been silent regarding the public shows of hatred against Muslims and the hijab.

BJP official Haratalu Halappa was surrounded by students, both Muslim and Hindu, outside a hospital where students injured in the protests were being treated.

When the group of Hindu extremists suddenly attacked a Muslim student, Halappa watched silently and did nothing to dispel the violence, leading to outrage after a video of the incident went viral.

Meanwhile, Asaduddin Owaisi, chief of the opposing All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen party and a member of the Indian Parliament, slammed Modi and the BJP over Twitter for their silence

“The PM has spoken twice since in Parliament but, amidst his political tirade, could not find a word to speak about the situation in Karnataka. What does his silence tell us?” he tweeted. 

Hearing a plea against the hijab ban, Karnataka High court judge Krishna Dixit said: “We’re being observed internationally, not a good development… We have to act according to the Constitution.” 

Without Disclosing Reason, Court Upholds Modi’s Ban On Muslim-Owned TV News Station

The High Court of Kerala state dismissed the petition of MediaOne TV, a prominent Malayalam-language news channel that was shut down by the Modi government’s Information & Broadcasting Ministry (I&B), asking the court to override the government’s decision. 

On January 31, the I&B Ministry cited vague and baseless “security concerns” to justify its shutdown, despite the fact that the channel has won many awards and accolades, including from the State Government. C. Dawood, Managing Editor at MediaOne TV, believes MediaOne was shut down due to the channel’s critical, objective coverage of Modi, the BJP, and the paramilitary Hindu supremacist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

“I find that there are inputs which justify the decision… Therefore, I propose to dismiss the petition,” the judge said, upholding the Modi government’s ongoing crackdown on press freedoms. The petition was dismissed despite the protests of several Kerala elected officials, who warned of the dangerous precedent being set by upholding the ban.

“Tomorrow any media channel can be attacked. Last week almost 200 YouTube channels [were] banned. These are BJP’s political moves of silencing differing and disagreeing voices. We all are nationalistic. It is not BJP alone that can define what nationalism is,” said MP Shreyams Kumar.

Since Modi became prime minister in 2014, the freedom of the press has sharply declined. Hundreds of journalists and news organizations have come under direct attack, mainly for criticizing Modi and the BJP for their rampant displays of anti-minority hatred, tolerance of genocidal rhetoric, attacks on pluralism, and aversion to legitimate criticism.

Hindu Extremists Destroy 40-Year-Old Catholic Center In Karnataka 

In Karnataka state, where anti-Christian hatred has skyrocketed after an anti-conversion law was passed weeks ago, a mob of Hindu terrorists destroyed a 40-year-old Catholic center in Mangalore city, illegally ramming into the structure with a bulldozer and leaving 30 Christian families homeless.

The St. Anthony’s Holy Cross Center had long served as a gathering place for the local Christian community, and had offered its support to people in need and those seeking asylum.   

“This illegal action is creating discord in a peace-loving community. This act is against the law, it is a blatant abuse of power, in complete violation of the orders issued by the Court,” said the chairman of the St. Anthony’s Holy Cross Center building committee. 

2021 was the most violent year on record for Christians in India, with over 500 incidents of anti-Christian violence and hate crimes recorded. 2022 seems to be on a similar trajectory as Hindu extremism continues to grow in popularity. 

Assam High Court Upholds Act To Convert Muslim-Run Madrassas Into Public Schools

The High Court in Assam state has upheld a bigoted and discriminatory act passed by the state legislature in 2020, which seeks to convert Muslim-run madrassa schools into public schools. According to Muslim Mirror, an Indian news outlet, “all government-run madrassas in Assam were abolished, and over 620 such institutions converted into general schools from April 2021.” 

The court also completely dismissed the right of minorities to operate their own schools amid a vicious climate of Hindu supremacy, saying, “Consequently, the claim of the petitioners that these madrasas are minority institutions and were established and administered by the minority is a claim which has no foundation, hence it is not acceptable.”

Though the managing committees of several madrassas pointed out that the government’s bigoted act violated more than one article of the Indian Constitution, the court claimed that shutting down madrassas was a form of “secularism.” However, the majority of public schools in India openly display Hindu deities, participate in Hindu religious festivals, and teach basic Hindu theology.