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Bengaluru Cops Arrest 2 From TN For Alleged Threats Against 'Hijab Case' Judges

Chief Justice Awasthi-led-special bench had upheld the Karnataka govt order banning the hijab in schools, colleges.

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The Bengaluru Police on Saturday, 19 March, arrested two people from Tamil Nadu in connection with the threats that were purportedly issued to the judges who were part of a special bench of the Karnataka High Court hearing the hijab case, according to The News Minute (TNM).

Earlier this month, the bench led by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi had upheld the Karnataka government order banning the hijab in educational institutions across the state.

THE ACCUSED

According to TNM, the accused are office bearers of the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ), and their arrests reportedly came after multiple complaints registered in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Covai Rahamathulla was arrested from Tirunelveli, while S Jamal Mohammad Usmani was arrested from Thanjavur.

In Karnataka, the FIR was filed based on a complaint filed by advocate Sudha Katwa. This FIR has been filed under Sections 506 (1) (Punishment for criminal intimidation), 505 (1) (B) (Intent to cause fear in the public), 153 A (Promoting enmity between religious groups), 109 (Abetment of an offence) and 504 (Knowingly insulting or provoking another person to commit violence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Tamil Nadu police had also registered First Information Reports (FIRs) against three people, including Rahamathulla, in connection with the purported derogatory remarks against the high court judges.

TNM also quoted the police as saying that several others had also been booked in the case.

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KARNATAKA TO GIVE Y-CATEGORY SECURITY TO THE JUDGES

Karnataka Chief Minister (CM) Basavaraj Bommai, meanwhile, was quoted by ANI as saying that he had decided to give 'Y' category security to all the three judges who had given the hijab verdict.

"We've decided to give 'Y' category security to all three judges who gave the Hijab verdict. I have instructed DG and IG to probe the complaint filed in Vidhanasoudha PS thoroughly in which some people gave life threats to the judges [sic]."
Karnataka Chief Minister (CM) Basavaraj Bommai, according to ANI

MORE DETAILS

In a representation to the registrar general of the Karnataka High Court, Advocate Umapathi S, according to NDTV, wrote:

"I received WhatsApp video message around 9:45 am from my contacts. The said video message is in Tamil language and after listening the same I was shocked to know the open threat of murder and target Hon'ble Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court and others in the wake of recent judgment of Hon'ble High Court of Karnataka banning of hijab [sic]."

Further, there was a purported reference to the death of a Jharkhand judge, who had been run over by an auto-rickshaw in July last year. The lawyer claimed that the speaker in the said video had made "a similar threat to Hon'ble Chief Justice of Karnataka by stating people know where the Chief Justice goes for walking."

The Advocate's Association Bengaluru has condemned the said threats, according to TNM.

BACKGROUND

Dismissing the petitions filed by Muslim girl students, seeking protection of their right to wear hijab in educational institutions in Karnataka, the Karnataka High Court, on 15 March, had said:

"We are of the considered opinion that wearing of hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith... The prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction that is constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to."

The high court also held that the Karnataka government had the power to pass the order it had on 5 February, stating that students would have to wear uniforms and that there was no case made out for its invalidation. There were no grounds for disciplinary inquiries against school authorities who had denied entry to Muslim girls for failing to wear uniforms either.

(With inputs from The Indian Express, The News Minute, and NDTV.)

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