In yet another incident targeting Muslim students wearing hijab in India, a video showing a Muslim girl being harassed by a gang of boys clad in saffron scarves as she tries to enter her school has gone viral online, prompting many to condemn the extremists’ action.
In the video, a girl wearing hijab can be seen riding up to school, reportedly PES college in Karnataka, on her motorcycle, after which she is accosted by a mob of chanting boys wearing saffron scarves. College administration try to hustle the girl away from the group, as they continue to hurl chants and smears towards her.
“Allahu Akbar,” the girl yells out at one point.
In recent weeks, Muslim students wearing hijab at school has been a controversial topic in Karnataka, India, with several schools denying girls wearing hijab entry into classrooms or college campuses, ostensibly under the guise of uniformity and classroom order.
President of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (JKPDP) in India Mehbooba Mufti condemned the attacks, attributing the incident to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s anti-Islamic rhetoric.
“Such incidents shouldn’t be seen in isolation as BJP hopes that it helps to polarise in UP [Uttar Pradesh] elections,” she said.
Journalist Nilanjana Roy pointed out that the controversy over girls wearing hijab in schools is about more than just the religious dress, while others called the incident ‘shameful.’
“It was never about the hijab — it was always about sending mobs after Muslims, first the men, now the women of the community,” she stated
Saffron, a colour revered in Hinduism, has become a symbol for the BJP, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘Saffron Party’. Since he became prime minister in 2014, BJP leader Narendra Modi has stirred division between Hindus and Muslims, using anti-Islamic rhetoric to consolidate his base.