Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba has dived into the Karnataka hijab row by sharing an Instagram video of saffron-clad men ‘harassing Muslim girls.’
The video under question was originally published by a London-based Instagram handle called ‘Islam is my deen’. The video captures a scene of protests outside an unnamed Karnataka college, where Hindu protestors thronged around groups of Muslim hijab-clad girls, waving saffron scarves and flags.
The caption of the post reads: “You might be getting tired of hearing it but the world needs to hear and see what is happening in India. For weeks Muslim women wearing Hijab have been prevented from getting their education in Karnataka.
“Meanwhile extremist Hindutva mobs rally inside and outside the college with saffron scarves and flags harassing Muslim girls. This is the real India the media doesn’t show you.”
Pogba, while born in the eastern suburbs of Paris, is descended from Guinean parents, and like 85 percent of the West African nation, he too is a practising Muslim. His support of the Muslim girls is the second instance of an international figure raising the issue—right after Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.
“College is forcing us to choose between studies and the hijab”.
Refusing to let girls go to school in their hijabs is horrifying. Objectification of women persists — for wearing less or more. Indian leaders must stop the marginalisation of Muslim women. https://t.co/UGfuLWAR8I
— Malala (@Malala) February 8, 2022
Offended by Pogba’s post, several Hindu supporters of Manchester United have called for the club to take action against their star player, who was transferred on a 5-year contract for a record-shattering €105 million back in 2016. #BoycottPogba began to trend on Twitter, while users prodded the footballer with questions and bombarded him with messages of disapproval:
If you don’t the issue, then you should not poke your nose into our matter.
School is funded by govt and govt of Bharata is Secular.
So, How can a secular govt allow the religious (Islamic patriarchy) dress (Burka/Hijab) inside a secular educational institute.
— आदर्शः | (@adarshhah) February 10, 2022
Others reached out with tweets of appreciation and solidarity on Pogba’s latest post:
Blessings from India.
May Allah bless you. pic.twitter.com/gFSj9TcGof
— Manjoor Ahmed (@ManjoorPoet) February 10, 2022
The hijab controversy began in December, when a few female Muslim students attended a pre-university college in Udupi, Karnataka, wearing hijabs. In protest, Hindu students showed up, wearing saffron scarves as a marker of solidarity.
The row spread to other educational institutions in different parts of the state, and the protests took a violent turn at educational institutes earlier this week, prompting the government on Tuesday to declare a three-day holiday for the institutions.
On Thursday, the Karnataka High Court that is hearing the hijab issue said educational institutions can resume classes.
(Featured Image Credits: @paulpogba/Instagram, Twitter)