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Udupi hijab row: Satirist gets slammed by Islamists for cartoon on Islamic attire

The controversy began on January 1 this year when 6 female Muslim students of a Pre-University College (PUC) in Udupi tried to enter their classes with a Hijab.

On Tuesday (January 25), political satirist Satish Acharya was slammed by Islamists for his ‘anti-Muslim’ cartoon on social media. His artwork was published in the backdrop of an ongoing controversy at a Udupi college where 6 Muslim girls were barred from attending classes for brandishing hijab over their uniform.

The cartoon by Satish Acharya depicted a ‘Muslim woman’ clad in a hijab (head scarf) and being caught in the middle of two groups. While one group directed the girl that she cannot attend college with a hijab, the other group told her ‘no college without hijab.’

Screengrab of the cartoon by Satish Acharya

Islamists slam satirist for suggesting Hijab can be ‘forced’

Although Acharya tried to ‘normalise’ wearing of religious attire atop school uniform, his insinuation that the hijab has been thrust upon the girls irked the Islamists on social media. They slammed him for deviating from the common Islamist narrative that the headscarf is a matter of choice for women.

In a tweet, popular ‘news grazer’ Zoya Rasul claimed, “Helpless, voiceless Muslim women being forced by brutal, aggressive Muslim men has been the most popular strand in anti-Muslim sentiments. This cartoon exhibits the same prejudice, cunningly discounting the brave and graceful fight these girls have been putting up for weeks now.”

Screengrab of the tweet

In another tweet, one Nihad said, “Hope you have heard the girls talk. They are not forced to wear hijab. Maybe you can draw a more accurate cartoon next time.”

Screengrab of the tweet

“This cartoon is misleading. No one is forced to wear hijab. But the hijab girls are being forced to miss school. Big difference,” wrote one Islamist.

Screengrab of the tweet

Another Islamist claimed, “Shame on you Satish. Wearing hijab is their choice. No one has forced them to wear this. Stop these biased things.”

Screengrab of the tweet

Another Islamist slammed Satish Acharya for his ‘disgusting’ cartoon. “So-called modern minds, who cannot accept ‘Muslim women exercising her right & willingly practising her religion. But always ready to impose their own false narratives. Pity on your mindset, which doesn’t allow you to accept Muslim women committed to her beliefs,” he added.

Screengrab of the tweet

One Mohsin Khan went on parrot the same Islamist argument that hijab, just like bikini, is a matter of choice. This is however in complete disregard to the fact that the college has a mandatory uniform for all students and did not encourage either religious symbolism or swimwear.

Screengrab of the tweet

“If a female wears a bikini, then, it’s her choice. And if she wears burkha or a hijab, then it’s forced. It just shows your prejudice. Nothing much,” he claimed.

Udupi hijab row: The background of the Case

The controversy began on January 1 this year when 6 female Muslim students of a Pre-University College (PUC) in Udupi tried to enter their classes with a Hijab. The school principal, identified as one Rudra Gowda, barred the girls from attending classes with their Islamic attire.

He pointed out that it nullified the purpose of a uniform. According to Karnataka’s Education Minister BC Nagesh, uniforms had been in existence in the said government PUC since 1985. He informed that there had never been an issue to date.

“Uniform in the college has been there since 1985. Till now, no problem was there. Uniformity creates a common mind. Kesari shawls are not allowed in college either. The same six girls had been OK [with the uniform] till 1.5 years ago. They have been suddenly provoked,” he had remarked.

The girls then launched a protest outside their classrooms for 3 days to allow them entry with their headcovers. They have now been asked to attend online classes until the matter is resolved.

Meanwhile, Hindu Jagarana Vedike (HJV) had cautioned that Hindus will wear saffron shawls to classes if Hijab is allowed for Muslim students.

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