Dubai: Some call her ‘Iron lady’ and others ‘Icon lady of hijab’ in India.
Meet Muskan Khan, a 19-year-old student from Karnataka’s Mandya Pre-University (PU) college in southern Indian state of Karnataka, who has inadvertently become the poster girl of pro-Hijab protests across the country.
In a video that has gone viral, Muskan can be seen entering her college as a slogan-shouting mob of men wearing saffron shawls shout “Jai Shri Ram” or “victory to Lord Ram”.
As they continue to heckle her, Muskan wearing a hijab and a face mask, shouts back “Alla-hu-Akbar” (God is great). Soon, college officials and teachers escort her inside.
The young student has said that she had been to the college to submit an assignment to the department. “I was stopped at the gate by a group of students. They asked me to enter the college without burqa or else go back home. I resisted,” she said.
“The group was doing the same thing to my other friends also. I questioned them why I should go back and entered the college premises. Some of them came near my ears and shouted ‘Jai Sri Ram’ slogans. They followed me and said that I must take out the burqa but I stood my ground,” she explained.
“I was not scared. I raised ‘Allah-hu-Akbar’ slogans without any fear. I am waiting for the court order and will abide by the decision,” she said.
Muskan explained that the college authorities have supported and protected her. “Every religion has freedom to follow their culture. We will follow our culture,” she said.
Muskan, meanwhile, grabbed the attention of politicians.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that the girl’s “act of fearlessness has become a source of courage for all”.
“Spoke to Muskan and her family on call. Prayed for her to remain steadfast in her commitment to education while also exercising her freedom of religion and choice,” Owaisi posted on his Twitter handle.
The issue has since snowballed as other schools began implementing a similar ban - and has taken on communal overtones with supporters of Hindu nationalist groups launching protests in support of the ban.
RSS supports Muskan
In a significant development, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has come out in support of Muskan.
The RSS Muslim wing -- Muslim Rashtriya Manch -- has backed Bibi Muskan’s plea to wear a hijab and condemned the saffron frenzy surrounding her.
Talking to reporters, Anil Singh, Avadh prant sanchalak of Muslim Rashtriya Manch, said, “She is a daughter and sister of our community. We stand by her in her hour of crisis.”
In its statement, the Muslim Rashtriya Manch said that Hindu culture teaches respect of women and those who chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and tried to terrorise the girl were wrong.
“The girl has a constitutional freedom to wear a hijab,” the statement read. If she had violated the campus dress code, then the institution has the right to act against her.
Muslims are our brothers
“The behaviour of boys sporting saffron scarfs and chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is unacceptable. They have defamed Hindu culture,” said the RSS leader.
“Hijab or purdah is also part of Indian culture and Hindu women too sport purdah as per choice. And the same condition applies to Bibi Muskan,” said Singh.
“Our sarsangh chalak has said, Muslims are our brothers and the DNA of both communities are the same. I appeal to members of Hindu community to accept Muslims as the
The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JuH) has announced Rs500,000 for Muskan.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) also lashed out at the government’s ban on hijab in educational institutions, calling it an interference in personal freedom.
JuH president Maulana Mahmood Madani said Muskan had put up a brave stance for her constitutional and religious rights against the protest.
Madani said the reward was an encouragement for her bravery.
“JuH will give Rs 5 lakh cash to Bibi Muskan Khan. She stood against protests for her constitutional and religious rights,” Madani said.