Karnataka hijab row: Students hit streets; government issues circular on uniform - GulfToday

Karnataka hijab row: Students hit streets; government issues circular on uniform


Muslim students in Mysuru district started a "I love hijab" movement. Twitter photo

The hijab row in Karnataka is spreading fast to other districts of the state. Muslim students in Mysuru district started a "I love hijab" movement on Friday. The ruling BJP has declared that it won't let Talibanisation happen and told these students that if they want to attend classes they will have to shun the hijab.

Muslim students have started a 'I love hijab'' movement in Mysuru city extending their support to the protest of students in Udupi district to wear a hijab and attend classes. The group of students gathered near the historical Bannimantap and staged a protest urging the government to allow students with hijab. The protestors held placards saying 'I love hijab' and later attended classes wearing a hijab.

Amid the row in Karnataka over students wearing hijab, the state government on Saturday issued a circular on uniform, reiterating its earlier stand that all government schools should follow the uniform dress code, declared by the government.

Stating that students from private institutions should follow the dress code decided by the school management, it said colleges would follow the dress code decided by the college development board.

In case of no such code, students can wear the dress, which does not affect equality, integrity and law and order, the circular stated.

Meanwhile, Hindu as well as Muslim students took to the streets, with one group demanding permission to wear hijab in classes and another group demanding to permit saffron shawls if hijab is allowed. Hundreds of students, including boys and girls, took out a procession in Kundapur, Udupi district wearing saffron shawls and raised slogans of 'Jai Sriram,’ 'Jai Lakshmi Bai' etc. Later, the students were sent back to their homes by the police.

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Large groups of students and activists staged a protest in front of office of the District Commissioner in Kalburgi, under the leadership of Congress MLA Kaneez Fathima, condemning the move to deny entry to Muslim students for wearing hijab.

Kaneez Fathima challenged the ruling BJP government to stop her from wearing hijab. "I will attend an assembly session in hijab. If they (BJP) have strength let them stop me. We will see how they will ban hijab, it is our right," she said.

The row on hijab surfaced in the state after few Muslim students insisted that they want to attend classes by wearing hijab at a Pre-University College in Udupi district, but were denied entry.

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The students have approached the High Court and the ruling BJP government has set up a high level committee to look into the issue.

Remove principal who denied entry to Muslim students wearing hijab: Congress

The Karnataka Congress has demanded removal of the Principal of Kundapur Pre-University College of the state's Udupi district for denying entry to Muslim girl students in hijab to the college.

Speaking to reporters, Siddaramaiah, the leader of opposition from Congress party, stated that the government has not mandated uniform at pre-university levels.

The Principal of Kundapur College in Udupi district has closed entrance gates for the 19 Muslim students wearing hijab and stopped them from entering college. This is against the fundamental right of the citizens, he stated.

"An MLA Raghupathi Bhat has told the college management it seems to make uniform compulsory. Who is this fellow to make it compulsory? Besides, it is a government college. This Principal, who gets his salary from state exchequer stands at the entrance and closes the gate at the behest of the BJP MLA. The principal of the college should be removed," Siddaramaiah said.

"To give it a political turn, BJP has making students to wear saffron shawls, this is being done deliberately to make it an issue. Why they did not come in saffron shawls all these days? Headscarves (hijab) are being worn since many years. It is a right enshrined in the constitution. Why you are trying to stop it?" he asked.

"The matter has reached the High Court. Two petitions have been submitted in the court. We have to see what happens. Individually, I feel that it violates the fundamental rights of students. This intention is to prevent Muslim girls from getting education. This is a conspiracy to keep the girl students away from studies," he said.

"Right to Education is a fundamental right. Right to practise religion is a fundamental right. This is very bad. The principal of the college stands near the gate and he prevents them from entering even as children cry is inhuman," he added.

Indo-Asian News Service

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