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Karnataka: Upset with High Court’s hijab order, 40 Muslim students refuse to appear for exams in Udupi

The students decided to not appear for the examination without wearing the headscarf as they were hurt by the March 15 order that upheld the state government's order banning the use of any religious attire on the premises of educational institutions.

At least forty Muslim girl students from the Udupi district of Karnataka have refused to attend the first pre-university examination on Tuesday after they were apparently hurt by the recent Karnataka High Court verdict banning the wearing of hijab inside classrooms.

According to the reports, the students decided to not appear for the examination without wearing the headscarf as they were hurt by the March 15 order that upheld the state government’s order banning the use of any religious attire on the premises of educational institutions.

Reportedly, at least 24 girl students from Kundapur, 14 from Byndoor and two from Udupi Government Girls Pre-University college have missed the exams because they did not want to follow the uniform dress code. Earlier, these girls, some of whom are also petitioners, had boycotted the practical examinations too.

Similarly, at the RN Shetty PU college, only 13 out of 28 Muslim girl students appeared for the examination. Some students reached the examination centre wearing hijabs, arguing that they should be allowed to write exams in Islamic gear. However, the college authorities denied them permission.

One girl student refused to appear for the examinations at Bhandarkar’s college in Udupi. Six of the eight girl students of Navunda Government PU College abstained from the examinations.

Muslim students refused to appear for preparatory exams

Two weeks earlier, at least 231 Muslim students studying at Government PU College in Uppinangady in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka had declined to appear for preparatory exams for the SSLC after being asked to remove their hijabs.

Following the High Court order, the college authorities had asked the students to adhere to the order that banned religious attire such as hijab or burqa in educational institutions and to follow the dress code of educational institutions. However, the girls had refused to remove their hijab, hence the college did not permit them to sit for the exam. 

The insistence of the Muslim students to wear hijab to schools had come even as Karnataka High Court, in a significant judgement, had upheld the rights of educational institutions to mandate uniform dress codes inside campus. In a historic judgement, the Karnataka High Court held that the hijab is not an essential religious practice and upheld the state government’s order banning any religious attire on the premises of educational institutions.

It stated that schools and colleges have a right to mandate a uniform dress code on their premises.

Hijab row

The hijab controversy in Karnataka gained momentum in the first week of January after eight Muslim girls were denied entry to classes in a Udupi college because they were wearing hijab. The college authorities had informed that the hijab was not a part of the uniform dress code mandated for the students.

The Muslim girls, adamant about wearing hijab, then filed a petition in High Court seeking permission to attend classes in hijab. They stated that wearing the hijab was their ‘fundamental right’ granted under Articles 14 and 25 of the Indian Constitution and an ‘integral practice of Islam’.

The controversy spiralled as Hindu students in Karnataka came with saffron scarves around their necks and protested against Muslim girls continuing to wear hijab to college. Tensions also prevailed at some educational institutions in Udupi, Shivamogga, Bagalkote, and other parts, as stones-pelting and violence were reported from various parts of the state.

As reported earlier, the students had begun to wear hijab to schools and colleges after they had met the Campus Front of India (CFI), the student branch of the Islamist organization Popular Front of India (PFI), in October 2021. The students confessed that they had spoken with the CFI.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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