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Karnataka: Students protest against college authorities for allowing Muslims to wear hijab inside college premises, hijab girls say it is a part of uniform

The protesting students contended that they were being forced to wear the college uniform while the 44 Muslim students are allowed to hijab to college. The students also alleged that some of them were wearing the hijab in the classrooms too.

Nearly a month after the Karnataka High Court order that upheld the ban on burqas in schools and colleges, the hijab row has once again resurfaced in Karnataka as a group of Muslim students from Mangaluru University College has submitted a memorandum to allow them to wear hijab in classrooms. 

According to the reports, the controversy erupted on May 26 after a group of students from the University College in Mangaluru had protested against the college authorities, alleging that a few Muslim girl students were attending classes wearing the Islamic hijab, violating the High Court order.

The protesting students contended that they were being forced to wear the college uniform while the 44 Muslim students are allowed to wear hijab to college. The students also alleged that some of them were wearing the hijab in the classrooms too.

The protesting students also hit out at the college principal and other concerned authorities for failing to enforce uniform rules on the college premises. The students allege that the college authorities are under pressure from a local political leader. 

“We have been demanding the implementation of the High Court order, despite us submitting memoranda to college authorities, they were not implementing it. Then PTA meeting was called, and parents-representative insisted that the court order be followed, then they said let the matter be decided at the Syndicate meeting,” a protesting student said.

The students also said that the authorities are now deciding to implement the order now, fearing protests by the students and also alleged that some faculty are instigating Muslim girl students to wear hijab in the classrooms.

Earlier, the Syndicate of Mangalore University held a meeting on May 16, where they approved the implementation of a dress code for students, including a ban on wearing the hijab.

However, some Muslim students had that they were not wearing the hijab but had covered their heads with the college uniform scarves and maintained that the hijab is mentioned in the college prospectus, and they were communicated the same before joining. The hijab-clad Muslim students have claimed that the Islamic gear was part of the uniform for the students who wear it.

“However, we received an unofficial statement in the form of a text message from the college on May 16 stating that hijab is not allowed in the classes and everyone should come in uniform,” a Muslim student said, adding that they submitted a memorandum to the district’s Deputy Commissioner to seek justice in the matter.

Karnataka 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.

However, the Karnataka High Court had dismissed petitions filed by a group of Muslim students, saying that hijab was not an integral part of Islam and noted that the prescription of school uniforms is only a reasonable restriction and constitutionally permissible, which students cannot object to.

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

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