Pramesh S Jain & Dr B Thomas (Special correspondent)
Statements made by Al-Qaeda chief on hijab row lend credence to the suspicion that ‘unseen hands’ were working to provoke youngsters in the state, Karnataka home minister Araga Jnanendra said on Wednesday.
In an 8.43-minute video clip released by As-Sahab,the official media wing of terror outfit Al-Qaeda, chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri showered praises on Karnataka college student Muskan Khan for shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ slogans to counter a group of boys who were chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ in her college early February.
Muskan’s actions were seen as one of the flashpoints of the hijab controversy.
We have been saying this from the beginning, and the High Court too during the hijab verdict had suggested the possibility of some unseen hands behind the hijab row.
Now it is proved, because Al-Qaeda people are now releasing videos,Jnanendra said, in response to a question on Zawahiri praising Muskaan.
How things are happening, what is the link. All these things are being looked into by the police,they will find out,” he added.
Jnanendra said that intelligence agencies were now investigating further to prove the link and that the Union and state home departments were monitoring the developments.
Condemning the statement by a terror group about the internal matters,higher education minister C N Ashwath Narayan said,Action will be taken against organisations and people linked to them”.
Meanwhile,distancing himself from the video statement,Muskan’s father termed the comments of the terror outfit’s leader as “wrong” and said he and his family were living peacefully in India.
Noting that such incidents are disturbing the peace,he said the police and state government can initiate an inquiry to ascertain the truth.
We don’t know anything about it (video),we don’t know who he is.I saw him today for the first time. He has said something in Arabic.We are all living here with love and trust like brothers,” Mohammad Hussain Khan told reporters in response to a question on Zawahiri’s video.
Queried on Zawahiri praising Muskan, he said, “People say whatever they want,this is unnecessarily causing trouble.
We are living peacefully in our country.We don’t want him to talk about us,as he is not related to us,it is wrong. It is an attempt to create division among us.”
In the video, Al-Zawahiri stated that Indian Muslims should “react to this oppression”.
We must shake off the delusions that confound us.We must stop being deceived by the mirage of the pagan Hindu democracy of India,which,to begin with,was never more than a tool to oppress Muslims,” said Zawahiri.
The hijab controversy first started at a government school in the Udupi district when six students were barred from entering classrooms because of wearing hijab.
A petition was then filed in the Karnataka high court, challenging the Udupi Government PU College’s decision.
A full bench, headed by chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, on March 15 held that Quran does not mandate the wearing of hijab for Muslim women and that the attire “at the most is a means to gain access to public places” and a “measure of social security”, but “not a religious end in itself” in its 129-page judgment.