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‘Why hijab alone? Hindu girls wear bangles, Christian girls wear cross’: Petitioner’s lawyer argues in Karnataka HC in burqa row

Senior Advocate Ravivarma Kuma asked why the state government had no objections to Hindu students wearing bangles, turbans and Christian students wearing Cross pendants

While the Karnataka HC heard the arguments over the hijab row for the fourth consecutive day today, Senior Advocate Professor Ravivarma Kumar appearing for petitioners hit at the state government and asked why was it having issues with hijab alone and not with other girls of other religions wearing religious jewellery. “Why is govt picking on hijab alone. Hindu girls wearing bangles and Christian girls wearing cross are not sent out”, he questioned.

He said that the state government had no objections over the Hindu students displaying their religion by wearing bangles, turbans and Christian students wearing religious pendants. He added that college going girls wear a dupatta, whether Hindu, Muslim or Christian and asked under what rules were meant to keep only hijab-wearing students out of the class.

“Why is govt making this hostile discrimination? Bangles are worn? Are they not religious symbols? Why is govt picking on these poor Muslim girls? A bindi wearing girl is not sent out, a bangle wearing girl is not. A Christian wearing cross is not touched. Why only these girls? This is violation of Art 15”, he said.

Kumar further quoted the Karnataka Education Act and stated that there were no provisions in the act to imply a ban on hijab. “Rule says when educational institution intends to change uniform, it has to issue notice one yr in advance to parents; if ban on Hijab, it should inform one yr in advance”, he added.

He also argued that uniform is not mandatory for students studying in Pre-University colleges. Some colleges and management committees have imposed uniforms as mandatory, which is illegal. Prescription of any uniform is illegal. Explaining the role of education, Kumar said that education is to promote plurality, not to promote uniformity or homogeneity, but heterogeneity. Classroom should be a place for recognition and reflection of diversity in society, he said.

It is pertinent to note that, not only Hindu girls but girls following Islam also wear bangles. Islamic law allows its women to wear bangles, earrings, nose rings and other kinds of jewellery. The accessories like bangles and pendants can’t be compared with hijab and burqa, because the latter is only worn by Muslim girls and is widely seen as an anti-women provision which is forcefully imposed in several Islamic nations.

The High Court last week had declared that nobody would dress up in religious attire in the educational institutes until the matter was being heard. The Court also on Friday ordered to reopen the educational institutions from February 16. However, the govt imposed section 144 in several cities of Karnataka to prevent violence and maintain law and order.

Many of the Muslim students were seen disrespecting the HC’s interim decision today as they continued to wear hijab and burqa in schools and colleges in Karnataka and protested against those who did not allow them to enter the campus with hijab, chanting ‘Allah-hu-Akbar’ on the streets.

The hijab matter is before a bench comprising of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice JM Khazi who will continue to hear the petitions tomorrow at 2.30 pm.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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