Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday said he was not surprised with Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri heaping praise on college student Muskan Khan, who defended her right to wear hijab inside the classroom.
The Chief Minister also slammed the leader of opposition in the legislative assembly, Siddaramaiah over his statement that Zawahiri's video was doctored and was a 'handiwork' of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
At the peak of hijab row in February, Muskan Khan, a second-year BCom student in Mandya was heckled by a group of students, wearing saffron shawl, for entering the college with hijab.
As they shouted "Jai Shri Ram", Muskan retorted by shouting "Allah-hu-Akbar." Following this, college authorities intervened and brought the situation under control.
“There is nothing to be surprised about. Certain issues are unnecessarily raised by going against the law of land and making an issue out of it. Some forces have been continuously creating chaos and confusion among masses. As part of it, the Al Qaeda has expressed its views explicitly,” Mr Bommai told reporters after returning from New Delhi.
He further said that he has issued directions to senior police officers to ascertain the authenticity of the video of Zawahiri.
Mr Bommai rubbished Siddaramaiah's charge that the RSS was behind the purported video, saying there was no logic and basis behind it.
“I wonder why Siddaramaiah became restless after Al Qaeda's name cropped up (in the Hijab row). That is the basic question. What is his problem if Al Qaeda's name surfaces?” the Chief Minister asked.
The Congress stalwart today said the purported video of Zawahiri was engineered by the RSS.
“Where is the terrorist, who is the terrorist? It is the RSS, which sends them (videos). It's all fake. Only these people (RSS functionaries) engineered it. What is there for the Chief Minister to find out when he is armed with intelligence? These intelligence officials brief everyday in the morning and evening,” Siddaramaiah said.
Muskan Khan's family has denied any link with Al Qaeda and maintained that it does not know who Zawahiri was.
The Mandya girl's father Mohammed Hussain Khan had sought to distance the family from the controversy, saying they don't want any appreciation from the leader of a terror outfit.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)