Till 2021 none wore hijab in PU colleges; PFI started hijab protest to create unrest: Karnataka govt tells SC

News Network
September 20, 2022

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Bengaluru, Sept 29: The BJP government of Karnataka, which is defending its decision to ban hijab in educational institutions, today claimed in Supreme Court that students of Pre-University colleges in Karnataka started wearing hijab because of Popular Front of India. 

“Till 2021, no girl student was wearing hijab in Pre-University colleges, but a movement was started on social media by the Popular Front of India as part of larger design to create unrest, forcing the state as custodian of constitutional rights to intervene into the matter,” the government told the SC. 

"It was not a spontaneous reaction, but a part of larger conspiracy in the middle of academic year to engineer social unrest. This sudden upsurge in demand to wear hijab was not original thinking by the students," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before a bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia.

While arguing to defend the February 5 government notification on banning hijab, he said it would be doing disservice to contend the order targeted one community as it prohibited saffron muffler, gamcha etc., too.

Referring to the attempt to create unrest, he said if the government had not acted, it would have been guilty of dereliction of duty. The purpose of prescribing uniform was to ensure equality, equity and uniformity, he asserted.

In his submission, Mehta also said India is a secular nation and even in countries, which are constitutionally Islamic like Iran, not all women are wearing hijab. They are fighting against it.

He also claimed that mere mention of hijab in Quran makes it a religious practice, but not essential. The practice has to co-exist with the religion in order to be sustained, he added.

Karnataka's Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi said that protecting every aspect of religion becomes practically impossible. Therefore, the theory of essential religious practice was evolved.

During the hearing, the bench said the petitioners never said they won't wear uniform. It asked if a child wears a muffler during winters, would this be prevented.

To this, Mehta said the rule says there cannot be a religious identity and uniform is uniform, and in a secular school, one has to wear the uniform.

The court also observed that must be proved beyond doubt that the wearing of the hijab was a threat to public order, public health or morality.

The court also said that the Karnataka High Court should have not gone into the essential religious practice test.

On this, Mehta said that the High Court could have avoided going into the essential religious practice issue, but it was the petitioners who moved the court raising the argument that hijab was an essential practice.

The court would continue to hear the matter arising out of March 15 judgement of the Karnataka High Court upholding hijab ban.

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News Network
September 23,2022

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Mangaluru, Sept 23: Three days after engineering graduate Maaz Muneer Ahmed was arrested by the Shivamogga Police on suspicion of his involvement in terror activities, his father Muneer Ahmed died of cardiac arrest at a hospital in Mangaluru today. 

The deceased is son of former Congress leader and Thirthahalli local body’s former member late Sabjan Sab. 

Maaz Muneer was arrested by Shivamogga Police on September 19 on charges of having links with the banned terrorist organisation – ISIS. It is said his father was hurt and disturbed over the arrest of his son.

Muneer Ahmed is a native of Thirthahalli. The family had moved to Mangaluru five years ago. Maaz did study M. Tech in Mangaluru and he had been working as a delivery boy for a food delivery company.

Shivamogga Police presented Maaz Muneer before a judge in Shivamogga on Friday and got permission for his travel to attend his father’s final rites. 

Shivamogga SP B.M. Laxmi Prasad said Maaz Muneer would take part in the final rites. 

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News Network
September 30,2022

Mangaluru, Sept 30: Sleuths of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday raided the freedom community hall at Mittur in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada district on the suspicion that PFI workers were trained in its premises.

One of the trustees of the trust which runs the hall, Ayub Agnadi was arrested by NIA officials, while another trustee Masood Agnadi is missing, police sources said. 

NIA suspects that training was given to activists of the PFI in isolated areas at Bantwal, Puttur and Sullia to carry out terrorist activities. Many youths from across the state are suspected to have been trained at the freedom community hall at Mittur, which was opened by the trust in 2007.

Search is on for the absconding trustee Masood, sources said. NIA had earlier raided the hall on September 6 in connection with the probe into the murder of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leader Praveen Nettar.

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News Network
September 21,2022

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New Delhi, Sept 21: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government as to why it was standing as a "mute spectator" to hate speeches while also expressing displeasure over mainstream television channels for running such shows and programmes.

The court asked where the country is heading to, as it put a poser to the Union government as to why it was treating the issue as trivial one.

"Hate speech poisons the very fabric of our country, it can't be permitted. Political parties will come and go but the nation and institution of free press will endure. We should have true freedom, and the government should come forward to take a stand," a bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said.

Without naming TV channels, the court said freedom of press is important, "but we should know where to draw the line". Nowadays, anchors don't allow their guests to speak, run them down, mute them and become discourteous too, the bench said.

"All this is going in the name of freedom of speech. It is sad if nobody making them accountable," the bench said, adding the free speech also included the right of the viewers.

"Until institutional mechanism is put in place, people will continue like this. We should have a proper legal framework," the bench added.

The bench specifically asked the Centre if it is contemplating any legislation to control hate speech in terms of the Law Commission of India's 267 th report which suggested amendment to the IPC and Criminal Procedure Code.

The court was hearing a batch of PILs including by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay for framing a law to control hate speech and rumour mongering.

Deliberating upon the role of media including the Television Channels, the court referred to previous SC judgements in Vishakha and Tehseen Poonawalla cases to saying some guidelines could be framed after considering the Centre's response.

Citing the role of media, the court said, it is not to take orders from anyone if it is truly independent.

"You (media) should foster constitutional values, everybody is part of this republic. Everybody belongs to this one nation," the court said, adding hate speech can take place in various forms like running a slow campaign against a community.

The bench said the Union government should not take up the matter as adversarial and take it up as an opportunity to bring out some legislation.

After hearing Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj and advocate Sanjay Tyagi for the Union government and senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, and others, the court asked the Centre to file a response within two week.

The court asked Hegde to assist it by collating points from writ petitions filed in the matter.

The Centre, on its part, said following the top court's order of July 21, it had received response from only 14 states on the issue.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on November 23.

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