Kerala Student Harassed For Not Wearing Headscarf, Clashes Follow

The incident occurred when the police tried to stop a clash between SFI activists and students of a rival group

Five Student Federation of India (SFI) activists were injured on Friday following a clash with other student groups at the Kerala Law Academy Law College in Thiruvananthapuram after a female student was allegedly harassed for not wearing a headscarf.

“An activist of Muslim Students Federation (MSF) had threatened a female student two days ago for not wearing a headscarf. The MSF and Kerala Students Union (KSU) activists have been acting like moral police and were ragging female students, which led to tension at the campus,” said Hari Chandan, former SFI college unit secretary and a final year LLB student.

A first year LLB female student also told The News Minute that the row over the headscarf was what triggered the clash between SFI and other students' unions.

An MSF activist asked the student her name and demanded that she wears a headscarf, saying it’s mandatory for Muslim girls. While there was a minor tiff between SFI and KSU activists on Thursday, clashes took place between the groups on Friday.

However, police say they are yet to determine what sparked off the clashes. “Tension prevailed in the campus and this led to the clash. But we don’t know the exact provocation. The activists of ABVP, KSU, MSF and AISF were involved in the clash,” Sub Inspector Peroorkada Prem Kumar said. He added that the injuries were not serious.

Other student organisations allege that the SFI has been hostile towards them following their protests in January demanding the removal of Principal Lekshmy Nair. During the demonstrations, the student protesters had then alleged that SFI was colluding with the management, which was backing Lekshmy Nair. SFI activists, however, allege that other student organisations on campus tend to unite against the Left-wing group.

(The article originally published on The News Minute.)