The Hijab row erupted in Karnataka in February 2022 after an educational institution stopped students wearing hijabs from entering its premises. As protests against the government’s backing of the hijab ban gathered steam in various parts of the state, Muskan Khan, a student protester, became the face of the resistance.

The Congress won the Karnataka elections in May this year and replaced the BJP government, which had been in power at the time of the Hijab row. Against this backdrop, a collage of two photographs of women (one has a woman in a burqa, the other has a woman in jeans and a pullover) is being shared on social media with the claim that both of them show Muskan Khan. The viral posts claim that Muskan, who did not want to remove her hijab in Karnataka and protested against its ban, has removed her hijab in London.

On June 14, Twitter user @PrabhashkarSax1 shared the collage with the caption: “This girl, who pretended to wear hijab in class in Karnataka, is Muskaan, who was not ready to go to school without hijab for the sake of religion, is now roaming the streets of London without hijab. After the formation of the government in Karnataka, their purpose has been fulfilled, now they will roam around half-naked.” (Archive)

On June 16, Twitter user @ReenaDamor13 shared the collage with a similar claim wile replying to a tweet from the official handle of Congress. She wrote, “Remember this girl ‘Muskan’ who fought for hijab rights? She is in London now. Career and life set after BJP protests in Karnataka! The government changed, work done, toolkit completed. Now she doesn’t want hijab in London, it was needed only in school??” (Archive)

Twitter users @HinduRastra008, @mind_kracker, @ajayver38343572, @SinghRV5, @birkaransingh06 and @basubhari shared the collage with similar captions. (Archives 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Fact Check

We did a reverse image search of the photograph of the woman who is not wearing a hijab in the viral posts, and found out that the picture was posted by Twitter user @_sayema on June 6, 2023 with the caption ‘London is beautiful’. This post received 1 million views and 149 Retweets. (Archive 9)

Sayema Rahman, whose photograph taken in London has been used in the viral post is not a college student from Karnataka but a radio jockey working at Radio Mirchi. It can be verified from the official site of Radio Mirchi.


Muskan Khan was was stopped at the gate of her college in south Karnataka’s Mandya town by a Hindu mob in saffron shawls and refused to enter unless she took off her hijab. It was during that time that the other photograph that we see in the collage was taken.

We also noted that Muskan’s father Muhammad Husain Khan told India Today that Muskan “had not moved abroad. He said that she is currently at her home in Mandya, Karnataka, adding that the social media rumours were baseless.”

We can thus infer that the two photographs are unrelated and the viral post is misleading, and is being used to cast aspersions on the hijab-ban protest. The woman in jeans and pullover is RJ Sayema Rahman. Her photo has been deliberately clubbed with the photograph of hijab-wearing student protester Muskan Khan to demean both the Muslim women and question their character on the basis of their choice of clothing.

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