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Hatred for Muslims normalised in India: Omar Abdullah over ‘hijab’ row

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Srinagar: Hatred for Muslims has been “normalised” in the country which “no longer celebrates its diversity”, alleged National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Tuesday as protests for and against ‘hijab’ intensified at colleges in parts of Karnataka.

He was commenting on a video that has surfaced on social media showing some men sporting saffron scarves heckling a woman in ‘hijab’ and raising slogans at a college in Karnataka.

“How brave these men are and how macho they must feel while targeting a lone young lady! Hatred for Muslims has been completely mainstreamed and normalised in India today.

“We are no longer a nation that celebrates our diversity, we want to punish and exclude people for it,” Abdullah said in a tweet tagging the video with it.

Meanwhile, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said incidents like these should not be seen in isolation.

“Harassing a Muslim girl in broad daylight without fear of any repercussion shows such goons enjoy patronage from those in power. Such incidents shouldn’t be seen in isolation as the BJP hopes that it helps to polarise in UP elections,” she tweeted.

Tension prevailed at some educational institutions in Karnataka’s Udupi, Shivamogga, Bagalkote and other parts over the ‘Hijab’ issue, forcing the police and authorities to intervene.

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday is hearing the petitions filed by five girls studying in a Government Pre-university College in Udupi, questioning hijab restriction in college.

The issue began in January at a government PU College in Udupi where six students who attended classes wearing headscarves were asked to leave the campus. The matter has now spread to different parts of the state, with Hindu youngsters, backed by right-wing outfits, responding by wearing saffron scarves.

Students wearing saffron scarves are also being barred from classes.

The row has also taken a political colour, as the ruling BJP stood in support of uniform-related rules being enforced by educational institutions while the opposition Congress alleged the ‘hijab’ controversy is part of a conspiracy to poison the minds of the young people.

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