An Indian actor has been arrested for criticizing a judge now hearing challenges to a hijab ban in schools.
Chetan Kumar, a Kannada-language film actor, was arrested in the state of Karnataka for his social media comments on how High Court Justice Krishna Dixit questioned the behavior of a rape victim in a previous ruling.
“Kannada film actor and activist Chetan Ahimsa has been arrested by Bengaluru City Police,” M N Anucheth, a deputy police commissioner, said in a statement.
Kumar is a Dalit, formerly known as ‘untouchables’ and considered the lowest in the Indian caste system.
His arrest sparked outrage in his home state.
Kumar had said in a tweet: “Justice Krishna Dixit made such disturbing comments in a rape case. Now this same judge is determining whether hijabs (headscarves) are acceptable or not in government schools. Does he have the clarity required?”
He also shared a 2020 tweet about Dixit, saying that he had granted bail to a rape suspect, “claiming ‘it is unbecoming of Indian woman to sleep after rape; that is not the way women react when they are ravished.’ What’s ‘unbecoming’ is 21st century misogyny of this judiciary Dixit fossil.”
Earlier this month, the Karnataka High Court prohibited students from wearing religious garments until it issued a final ruling on the matter.
A three-judge panel is hearing the case to determine whether schools and colleges can disallow students from wearing hijabs in class.
A group of Muslim women filed petitions against the headscarf ban on college premises.
The hijab controversy erupted after a college in Karnataka instructed students to remove their headscarves inside the classroom.
Those opposing the move cited the Indian Constitution, which allows Indians to wear whatever they want and display religious symbols.