Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Thursday he was not surprised that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was praising student Muskan Khan, who defended her right to wear the hijab in the classroom.
The Chief Minister also criticized the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, Siddaramaiah, for his statement that Zawahiri’s video had been doctored and was a “work” of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
At the height of the hijab row in February, Muskan Khan, a second-year BCom student in Mandya, was heckled by a group of students, wearing a saffron shawl, for entering college with the hijab.
As they shouted “Jai Shri Ram”, Muskan retorted by shouting “Allah-hu-Akbar”. Following this, the college authorities intervened and brought the situation under control.
“There is nothing to be surprised about. Some issues are raised unnecessarily by going against the land law and making it a problem. Some forces have continuously created chaos and confusion among the masses. In this framework, Al-Qaeda has expressed its point of view explicitly,” Bommai told reporters after returning from New Delhi.
He further stated that he gave instructions to senior police officers to verify the authenticity of Zawahiri’s video.
Mr Bommai dismissed Siddaramaiah’s accusation that the RSS was behind the alleged video, saying there was no logic or basis behind it.
“I wonder why Siddaramaiah got agitated after the name Al-Qaeda came up (in the Hijab line). This is the fundamental question. What’s his problem if the name al-Qaeda comes up? asked the chief minister.
The Congress stalwart said today that the alleged Zawahiri video was engineered by the RSS.
“Where is the terrorist, who is the terrorist? It’s the RSS that sends them (videos). It’s all wrong. Only these people (RSS officials) designed it. What is there for the Chief Minister to find out when he is armed with intelligence? These intelligence officials brief every day in the morning and evening,” Siddaramaiah said.
Muskan Khan’s family denied any connection to al-Qaeda and maintained that they did not know who Zawahiri was.
The Mandya girl’s father, Mohammed Hussain Khan, had sought to distance the family from the controversy, saying they wanted no appreciation from the leader of a terror group.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)