The girls also point out that there was rampant discrimination against female students wearing the hijab. Speakers would refuse to answer doubts, or they would give less points in internal evaluations. “Our speakers used to make comments like, ‘When you bathe, do you wear the hijab and do you bathe? says Alia – “the male speakers”, they specify when we push to find out more.

The girls also make an emotional case for wearing the hijab. This sudden unraveling of their clothing must be credited for the despair it causes young Muslim girls who are forced to reject what has been a part of their childhood. “Teachers ask us, ‘What about your education?'” Hazra said, adding, “If they really cared about our education, they would let us into the classrooms.”

Even though the nation’s attention has been captured by the antagonism between students, we have overlooked the power dynamics of what happened in those classrooms.

It is safe to say that if this issue were not centered on the hijab, that if the victims of the taunts had been Hindu girls provocatively questioned about their bathing by male lecturers, the feminist response to such an issue would have been amazing. Collectively, our civil society would have expressed outrage at the occasional sexism and bullying climate within classrooms, they would have called for immediate action to create safe learning spaces.

Hindutva impunity is not just a drug that leads to its own high – our social inaction fuels their brazen journey.

Here it should be emphasized that the Kannada media, with very few exceptions, has always taken a pronounced Hindu perspective on everything. The insidious positioning begins with the basic language: several state newspapers treat Muslims as the “other” community, or anya komu. News channels love to pit communities against each other and turn every issue into an “us versus them” fight. In such a context, the problematization of Hijab has also become a media spectacle.