In Karnataka’s Udupi, Education & Religious Faith Have Got Into A Tussle

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Karnataka, Hijab clad
Image Source: Pixabay

Girls of the Udupi district of Karnataka have been pleading to college authorities to let them attend classes wearing their hijab/headscarf from 3rd February but to no avail. While female students have been wearing their hijabs and attending schools and colleges for years now, few colleges of the district have banned girls from wearing hijabs in the classrooms as a part of their fresh guidelines. 

This comes after a group of boys entered the college wearing saffron shawls protesting against the use of hijab by Muslim women. They were seen chanting “Jai Shree Ram” while protesting against these women. There have been 3 such protests till now. The state’s education minister, when asked by the media for his take on this, has said that the use of both saffron shawls and hijabs should be banned on campuses. 

Around 40 students including the Muslim boys have been protesting against this ban by sitting outside the college classroom. Two female Muslim students have taken this matter to the Karnataka High Court by filing two separate petitions. One mentions that wearing what one wants to is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Indian constitution to its citizens. The other petition mentions that the academic guidelines set by the government for the year do not prescribe any uniform for pre-university colleges. 

The college head told the media that students are not allowed to wear hijab in classrooms because it is not a part of the uniform. He added that the administration is simply following the education ministry directives. He also said that this is the first time ever that college is having to face such an issue. The students, however, have argued that this has happened even earlier. 

Due to this whole tussle, students have been barred from attending classes. This is turn is affecting their attendance which is necessary for them to be able to sit for their final examinations. The protesting students have also complained about being threatened by the teachers and the principal of ruining their careers. 

The issue has spread like a wildfire in most areas of the state. Other colleges in Karnataka too have banned the wearing of hijab in classrooms and permitted students to wear them only in the campus area. 

In a disturbing statement, BJP state chief Nalin Kumar Kateel, commenting on the issue, said, “There is no scope for such things (wearing hijab in classrooms). Our government will take stringent action. People have to follow the rules and regulations of the school. We will not allow Talibanisation (of the education system).” (As reported by The Wire)

This disappointing occurrence of events has led to outrage throughout the country. India today is yet again witnessing hate against a minority community. At an age where students should be taught about equality, they are being instilled with hate towards minorities or other religions and are being denied the basic right to education over religious faith.  

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