Karnataka: 2 held with lethal weapons close to protest site amid hijab rowtext_fields
Bengaluru: In the latest development into the ongoing Hijab protest in Karnataka, Udupi police have arrested two men for allegedly carrying 'lethal weapons' near the Government PU College in Kundapur under Udupi district. Notably, a section of Muslim students in the college staged a protest on Friday against the decision of the authorities to ban the hijab (head scarf) on the campus.
The two arrested have been identified as Haji Abdul Majid and Rajjab who hail from Gangolli, a village near Kundapur.
According to reports, the accused - at least one is a repeat offender - have been charged with attempted homicide, rioting with a deadly weapon, and criminal conspiracy.
As per officials, out of five men carrying weapons, three managed to flee from the spot and they are not believed to be part of the students' agitation.
"Two have been arrested, three are absconding. We are trying to trace them. They had one knife and they were not locals. They are from Gangolli. They have been sent to judicial custody. The case is under investigation," ST Siddalingappa, the Additional SP of Udupi Police, told news agency ANI.
Kundapur Police were acting on information received when they arrived at the protest site and arrested the two accused; the other three managed to flee the scene.
Over the past week protests by college students in the district over their right to wear a hijab have grown, as have counter-agitations led, ominously, by other students wearing saffron scarves.
On Saturday videos from a protest site in Kundapur showed some students wearing the scarves over their college uniforms and shouting 'Jai Shri Ram' while going to college. Other videos showed police breaking up groups of saffron-clad protestors gathered near a market area and shouting slogans.
This was on the same day that 40 female students - wearing the hijab - protested at the gates of an arts and science college in Kundapur. College staff refused to let the girls inside the campus.
The students - all between 18 and 20 years old, and missing classes for a second straight day - demanded to know why their college had banned the hijab when the rules did not forbid it.
40 male Muslims students protested in solidarity with their female classmates.
The day before identical scenes unfolded at another college in Kundapur, where the authorities announced an overnight ban on hijabs after other students began wearing saffron shawls. To avoid communal tension, the Muslims students were asked to attend classes without the hijab.
Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra has said students should "neither wear the hijab nor saffron scarves" when attending classes.