Raids on PFI: Creating Prejudice in Hijab Row

Photo credit: The Hindu.

Sami Ahmad

NEW DELHI—The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on a batch of petitions which challenged the Karnataka government’s ban on the Hijab in educational institutions on Thursday. This ban was upheld by the Karnataka high court.

Intriguingly on the last day of a ten-day hearing in the top court National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and local police on Thursday launched multiple raids across 13 states against the Popular Front of India which was brought into an argument on Tuesday.

The Supreme court bench hearing this case comprised Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, Karnataka’s Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi, and Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj argued on behalf of the state government, while Dushyant Dave, Salman Khurshid, and Huzefa Ahmadi appeared for the Muslim petitioners.

The argument of the Popular Front of India’s role in the hearing of the Hijab row of Karnataka in the Supreme court might be one of the reasons for fresh raids on it by the central agencies.

Representing the petitioners’ Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi submitted that the argument of PFI was not raised before the high court and it was an argument to create prejudice.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave argued that the circular of the government of Karnataka on uniforms did not name PFI. He said, “It says certain religious observances in the campus are interfering in unity.”

But circular has no reference to the role of PFI. He referred to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s raising the PFI issue in the court and said that the entire media picked that up and that was the headline the next day. He also quoted Justice KM Joseph explaining in case how media was being used to spread hatred.

Both the advocates argued that no material has been shown on record regarding this.

On September 20, the SG claimed that till 2021, no student was wearing a Hijab. He alleged, “An agitation was started by the Popular Front of India to create ‘social unrest’ and the students were made part of the conspiracy.”

He argued that the government had to intervene to prevent unrest and rallies. He also claimed that the students did not act by themselves.

Media reports said on Wednesday that the Karnataka government submitted that the Hijab can be worn on school premises and the restrictions were only in the classrooms. General secretary of PFI Anis Ahmad quoted this and asked “Why girls and teachers were forced to remove the Hijab at the gates of the schools?’’ He alleged that that was how the Karnataka Government officially lied to the Supreme Court.

Hindustan Times reported that following nationwide raids on the top leaders and office bearers of the Popular Front of India (PFI) on Thursday, the calls for banning the Muslim organization have been revived. The paper quoted an officer saying “NIA claims that PFI has links with several left-wing extremists and Dalit organizations that campaign on issues of police atrocities, fake encounters, alleged imprisonment of innocent people as under-trials by falsely implicating them in terror cases, and campaigning against the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

PFI is being investigated for multiple accusations including its alleged role in violent protests in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), alleged forced conversions, the radicalization of Muslim youth, money laundering, and maintaining links with banned groups.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here