Karnataka: Muslim student attacked by cops, college principal for wearing skullcap

A college student was allegedly thrashed by the police and college principal for wearing a skullcap on Saturday in Karnataka. Naveed Hasan is a BA student from government first grade college in Terdal, Bagalkot.

Bagalkot district was earlier in the news for the anti-Muslim violence unleashed by the members of the ABVP and Sangh Parivar. The saffron party members pelted stones on educational institutes and heckled Muslim female students on 5 February. Though there were no actions done against Hindutva men, the district police of Bagalkot registered FIR against Muslim youths.

“It was not for the first time that I wore skull cap to the college. On 18 February, when I wore it, the principal shouted at me and asked to leave the campus. When I asked him the reason, he replied that I’m violating High Court’s order restricting religious attire in schools and colleges. I was forcefully pushed out of the campus where some policemen were standing. They told me to get lost and threatened to arrest,” Hassan told Maktoob.

“When I got home, I narrated everything to my parents. Surprisingly, I recieved a call from our principal. He asked me to take my parents to the college at 02:00pm of 18 February. But as it was a Friday and we Muslims have to offer Juma prayer, Abba and me decided to visit the college the next day, 19 February,” he said.

Hassan went on to say: “When we entered the principal’s office, I saw him in a very high temper. He started yelling at me and Abba. It is then I decided to film him, but noticing it, the principal called the police and demanded my arrest. I was thrashed mercilessly by the principal and the police infront of my father.”

“Then I was taken into custody where they tortured me and seized all my personal belongings, I demand justice. No student should have to go through this.” Naveed Hasan said in a broken voice.

Hasan fell unconscious and was taken to the government hospital of Jamakhandi. When his condition started getting worse, he was shifted to Bijapur district government hospital.

Muslim students in southern Indian state Karnataka have been protesting the ban on hijab in educational institutions, saying the Islamophobic move of Karnataka govt violates their religious freedom guaranteed under India’s constitution.

On February 10, a three-judge bench of the High Court barred the students in Karnataka from wearing “religious clothes” in schools and colleges until further orders. The Karnataka High Court Special Bench is hearing the Hijab case on a daily basis.

Muslim students, activists and Opposition leaders across country allege that these attacks on Muslim symbols and practices are part of the larger Hindutva agenda of imposing majoritarian values on country’s 200 million Muslims.