In an attempt to attack the Congress, the official Twitter handle of the BJP in Karnataka on Tuesday, February 15, tweeted out personal details of the student petitioners who have moved the Karnataka High Court against the hijab ban. The BJP tweeted out names and addresses of the six student petitioners, drawing sharp criticism for violating the right to privacy of the minor students. The tweet by BJP is also against the law. Publishing private details of minors is prohibited under Section 74 (1) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015.
On Tuesday, February 15, the official Twitter handle of the BJP wrote, “Five of the students involved in #HijabRow are minors. Don't CONgress leaders Sonia, Rahul & Priyanka have any guilt for using minor girls to stay relevant in politics? How low will they stoop to win elections? Is this what "ladki hoo lad sakti hoon" means, @priyankagandhi? (sic).”
However, the tweet also contained pictures of the girls’ plea in the Karnataka High Court, containing information including their names, addresses and parents’ names. State BJP president Nalinkumar Kateel also tweeted the document, saying, “Four of the students who filed an interim petition to postpone the trial are minors. What does it mean that they are disputing the hijab issue to the elections of the five states? Doesn’t it mean the students are dancing to someone else’s tune? (sic)”
The BJP and Kateel drew flak from several corners for doxxing (publishing private or identifying information) and revealing the identities of the minor students. Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi urged Karnataka police chief Praveen Sood, Twitter India and the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights to take action against the BJP. Congress member Lavanya Ballal took up the issue as well, and asked Kateel to not share the details of the students to be shared on a public forum.
After many flagged the tweet for revealing private information, the BJP Karnataka’s tweet in Kannada was taken down by Twitter for violating rules. However, the party’s tweet in English, as well as tweets by other BJP leaders continue to be available on the website, at the time of writing.
This issue comes days after the admission forms of the six students at the Government Pre-University College for Girls — where the hijab protests first began — were leaked. The forms contained the girls’ personal information as well as photographs.
On Monday, the Karnataka government decided that pre-university (PU) and degree colleges across the state would reopen from February 16, after being shut amidst the hijab controversy. As protests for and against the hijab intensified in different parts of Karnataka and turned violent in some places, the government had declared a holiday for all high schools and colleges in the state for three days, from February 9, and it was subsequently extended up to February 16.
However, the Karnataka High Court, in its interim order pending consideration of all petitions related to the hijab row, last week had requested the state government to reopen educational institutions and restrained all the students from wearing saffron shawls, scarves, hijab and any religious flag inside the classroom.
Following the court order, the government had decided to resume classes for high school students up to Class 10 from February 14, and for pre-university and degree colleges thereafter.
Currently, wearing of hijabs, saffron shawls and other religious attire for students in institutions with an uniform mandate is prohibited by the February 10 interim order by the Karnataka High Court.