Controversy over Muslim students in hijab being denied entry to colleges in Karnataka has continued to simmer with students at a pre-university college in the Udupi region of Karnataka being kept out for the third back-to-back day Friday and BC Education Minister Nagesh said government colleges will “strictly follow” the Department of Education circular on uniforms.
In the first remarks on the issue of opposition in Karnataka, former Chief Minister of Karnataka and Congress Leader Siddaramaiah said that the decision to bar Muslim students wearing headscarves or hijabs from entering their colleges was an attempt to deprive girls of their basic right to education. . “This is an effort to keep Muslim girls out of school. The headscarf is part of their religion. Now a problem is created in a government college in Kundapur [in Udupi]. It is a violation of the fundamental rights of students. The Constitution grants you the fundamental right to practice your religion,” he said.
At Kundapur college on Friday, girls wearing hijabs, who came with their parents, demonstrated outside the gates of the college. As a counter-protest, a few Hindu boys entered the premises wearing saffron scarves. The boys were asked to take off their scarves and attend class.
Accusing the BJP of communalising the issue, Siddaramaiah said, “The BJP is making a problem out of it by demanding the right to wear saffron scarves. They do it intentionally. Did they wear it earlier? Is this part of their customs? »
Rajya Sabha Congress Opposition Leader Mallikarjun Kharge told the Indian Express: “It is not good to harass girls because of the dress they are wearing. Our country has a diverse culture. They (Karnataka BJP) shouldn’t make it a big deal. The Constitution gives you freedom… if you take them away with your strength, it’s not good.
UT Khader, Deputy Congress Leader in the Karnataka Assembly, said girls should be allowed to attend classes wearing the hijab “if they wanted to” and that colleges should take up an appeal to allow saffron headscarves to Hindu students. “Student education should not suffer because this issue is being raised now.”
The Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council, BK Hariprasad of Congress, told the Indian Express: “It is terrible. It is a public school. They have nothing to impose. There are no restrictions on hijab or saffron headscarves. The BJP wants to polarize the coastal society of Karnataka. They are turning the whole region into a Hindutva laboratory. It is not fair. We are waiting for our local units to assess the situation and report back to us. Then we’ll take a call.
Former Union Minority Affairs Minister and senior Congressman K Rahman Khan said: “All these years there has been no objection (to students wearing the hijab). Now these vigilantes are doing moral policing. India is a land of diverse cultures. Constitutionally, they cannot restrict it.
On Friday, the state’s education minister, Nagesh, told the media, “We have sent circulars to colleges in UP for students to wear uniforms. Otherwise, students will not be allowed to enter… The case is before the court and we will await instructions from the court.
On January 25, the state Department of Education decided to create a committee to develop uniform guidelines. He also asked colleges in Udupi to maintain the “status quo” until the government formulates a rule.
On Thursday, the state’s interior minister, Araga Jnanendra, said students should wear uniforms prescribed by school and college managements and refrain from wearing hijab or saffron headscarves.
Minister of State for Kannada and Culture V Sunil Kumar alleged that the protesting Muslim girls were converting Udupi and Karnataka into Taliban territory. “We will not allow them to turn this area into Taliban territory…”