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Congress playing with fire again? While trying to appear neutral, here is how it is fanning discord after the Karnataka High Court hijab verdict

Zeeshan Siddiqui, a Congress MLA from Mumbai, said he would support the petitioner students if they took the HC judgment to the Supreme Court.

Following the Karnataka High Court’s decision to ban hijab in educational institutions, the Congress, in concert with some Islamic organizations, appears to be stirring unrest in the country. Muslim organizations said on March 16 that they will go to the streets in Karnataka on March 17 to protest the Karnataka High Court’s judgment, which upheld educational institutions’ rights to outlaw hijab and claimed that it is not an important Islamic practice.

The bandh organized by Islamic organizations, on the other hand, appears to have failed in the state, with fewer stores closing and most people returning to their regular activities. Even while Congress has sought to present itself as impartial, a number of occurrences suggest that they are evidently seeking to take advantage of the situation.

Traces of events demonstrate that the Congress party is working behind the scenes to inflame tensions over the subject. After the Karnataka High Court dismissed petitions challenging the state government’s ban on hijab in schools and colleges, the Congress said on Tuesday, absolving themselves of all responsibilities as a party to assist in maintaining peace and supporting the court’s decision, that the Basavaraj Bommai government bears the responsibility for maintaining peace and harmony in the state. DK Shivakumar, the president of the Karnakata Congress, said his main concern after the judgment is education, and law and order.

Some Congress legislators in the state also reportedly opposed the judgment of the High Court. Senior Karnataka Congress leader Tanveer Sait said on Tuesday that the high court order against hijab should be questioned before the Supreme Court. Sait, who is a former primary and secondary education minister, told reporters, “We have decided to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court questioning the high court order. The order is, fundamentally, unacceptable,”

“Instead of building the nation progressively, attempts are being made to divide children and disrupt unity. All these seem to target a specific community,” Sait added stating the ruling in the triple talaq case and anti-conversion law.

Zeeshan Siddiqui, a Congress MLA from Mumbai, said he would support the petitioner students if they took the HC judgment to the Supreme Court. “Like many others who believe in freedom of choice, I am disappointed by the court order. I will support the girls if they decide to challenge the verdict in the SC,” he said. Siddiqui was one of the people who went to Muskan Khan’s house in Mandya, Karnataka, to congratulate her after she shouted Allahu Akbar cries in her college.

The verdict by Karnataka High court

The Karnataka High Court ruled on Tuesday that the hijab is not an important religious practice and maintained the state government’s decree prohibiting the wearing of religious apparel on the premises of educational institutions in a 129-page judgment. The order said that schools and colleges have the legal authority to impose a uniform dress code on their campuses.

Furthermore, a plea challenging the Karnataka High Court’s decision has been filed in the Supreme Court. The plea will be heard by the Supreme Court post the Holi vacation.

Karnataka hijab row

Some Muslim students at a Pre-University College in Udipi, Karnataka, petitioned the High Court to be permitted to attend lectures while wearing the hijab. They were denied entry to classes, according to the college administration, since the hijab is not part of the college uniform and so cannot be worn in class. Since then, the students have been holding demonstrations dressed in burqas.

In December 2021, several Muslim students began wearing hijab and burqa to school and college in violation of uniform regulations after meeting with the Campus Front of India (CFI), the student section of the Islamist organization Popular Front of India (PFI). 

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