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'Can't be Considered Human': Karnataka Play Attacks Hijab-Wearing Women

One of the characters said, "Muslim women can't be considered human as they wear a black cloak."

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Characters in a Yakshagana play recently made derogatory comments against hijab-wearing Muslim women during the ten-day Karkala Utsav in Karnataka's Udupi.

Referring to the hijab, one of the characters in the play reportedly said, "Muslim women can't be considered human as they wear a black cloak."

The video of the same has gone viral on social media.

Yakshagana is a traditional dance folk form that combines dance, music, song, scholarly dialogues, and colourful costumes and is extremely popular in coastal Karnataka. The dialogues are often based on social issues.

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What Did the Characters Say?

On one of the days of the festival, a play was held where the characters spoke about the recent hijab ban in the state and mocked hijab-wearing women.

"They did not arrive as humans. They came shrouded in a thick, black cloak," said one of the characters, while another replied that they donned saffron shawls to protest against them.

"Today, the court's judgment has quashed it. No one should wear them. Where they (Muslim women) go, whom they meet, must be investigated by the intelligence department," added another character.

While the exact date of the play is unknown, it could have been held on 16 March, as one of the characters also said that the "judgment was delivered yesterday. But, prior to that, we, the activists, had executed riots".

Replying to this, another character said, "We had donned saffron shawls for the same reason. If we hadn't donned our shawls, the case wouldn't have gotten this wild."

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More About the Hijab Verdict

After months of political upheaval and 11 days of hearings, a three-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday, 15 March, upheld the restrictions on Muslim women wearing hijabs in educational institutions.

Dismissing the writ petitions filed by Muslim girl students seeking permission to wear hijab in colleges, the court said that hijab is not part of Essential Religious Practice and that no compelling case was made out for invalidating the government order against it.

Subsequently, a plea was moved in the Supreme Court challenging the Karnataka High Court's order by a student named Niba Naaz.

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