The Karnataka High Court, hearing the hijab case, on Wednesday sought to know from the state government the role of the Campus Front of India (CFI).
On January one, six girl students of a college in Udupi attended a press conference held by the CFI in the coastal town protesting against the college authorities denying them entry into classrooms wearing hijab.
This was four days after they requested the principal permission to wear hijab in classes which was not allowed. Till then, students used to wear the headscarf to the campus, but entered the classroom after removing it, college principal Rudre Gowda had said.
"The institution did not have any rule on hijab-wearing as such since no one used to wear it to the classroom in the last 35 years. The students who came with the demand had the backing of outside forces," Gowda had said.
Senior counsel S S Naganand, representing the Government PU College for Girls, its principal and a teacher, on Wednesday, told the full bench, comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice J M Khazi and Justice Krishna S Dixit, that the hijab row was started by some students owing allegiance to CFI.
To this, the Chief Justice sought to know what the CFI stood for and what its role was. The senior counsel said the organisation was coordinating and organising protests in the state. "It is also a voluntary organisation, which is spearheading and drumbeating in favour of students (demanding wearing of hijab in class-rooms)".
Another lawyer said the CFI is a radical organisation, which is not recognised by the colleges. Then Chief Justice Awasthi sought to know whether the state was aware of it, to which Naganand said the Intelligence Bureau knows it.
Then the CJ directed the state government through Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi to find out. When Navadgi said there is some information, CJ Awasthi wondered how all of a sudden this organisation's name has cropped up.
Naganand told the court that some teachers were threatened by CFI. "The teachers were afraid of lodging a complaint but now they have filed a complaint with the police," he said.
When Justice Dixit asked when the teachers were threatened, Naganand said a couple of days ago. Expressing his displeasure, Justice Dixit asked the AG that he should have informed the court. The AG replied saying that he was not aware of the incident. Naganand also said the uniform-related regulation was in force in the girls' college since 2004 and had been continuing till now.
With PTI inputs.