New Delhi: The Karnataka government on Tuesday called its order on the hijab “secular” in the Supreme Court. The state government strongly defended its order, blaming the Popular Front of India (PFI) for the controversy, claiming it was part of a “larger conspiracy”.
The state government insisted that the movement in support of wearing the hijab in educational institutions was not “spontaneous” by some individuals and that she would have been guilty of “disobedience to constitutional duty” if she had not acted that way. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Karnataka government, told the Supreme Court that the PFI had started a campaign on social media with the aim of starting an agitation based on “religious sentiments of the people”.
The PFI is widely considered to be a staunch Muslim organization and has been blamed for several incidents of communal violence. However, the organization has denied the allegations. Mehta told a bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia that the PFI had launched a campaign on social media about hijab earlier this year and were constantly sending social media messages asking girl students to “wear hijab”. was going.
He said that in 2022, a campaign was launched on social media by an organization called Popular Front of India and an FIR was registered in this regard and later a charge sheet was also filed. The Supreme Court was hearing arguments on petitions challenging the Karnataka High Court’s decision refusing to lift the ban on hijab in educational institutions in the state.
Mehta said, “It is not the spontaneous act of some children that we want to wear the hijab. They were part of a bigger conspiracy and the children were acting as per the advice given.” He said that till last year, no girl student was wearing a hijab in schools in Karnataka. Referring to the state government’s order dated February 5, 2022, Mehta said it would not be fair to say that it bans wearing of hijab only and therefore targets only one religion.
He said, “There is another dimension which no one has brought to your notice. I will not exaggerate if I say that if the government had not acted that way, the government would have been guilty of breach of constitutional duty.” Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for some of the petitioners, questioned during the hearing why the state government imposed such restrictions after 75 years of independence.
He said, “What was the need for this? Nothing has been brought on record to show that the circular was based on any just cause or any justification. It was sudden and shocking.” Dave said, “All of a sudden you decide to impose such a ban. Why do I say this… In the last few years, there has been a series of actions targeting the minority community in Karnataka.”(agency)