Karnataka education minister calls wearing Hijab to college as ‘indiscipline,’ students stick to their stand

Bengaluru, January 21 (KMS): The row surrounding the denial of permission to six girl students to classrooms for wearing hijab in the Government Girls Pre University College in Udupi district of the Indian state of Karnataka continues as students stick to their demand and have decided to continue their protest until they are allowed to attend classes wearing hijab.

On the other side, the state Education Minister B.C. Nagesh while calling wearing Hijab to College as “indiscipline’ also dubbed it a “political” move questioning whether learning institutions have turned into religious centres.

The Hijab controversy took to nearly three-week-long stand-off between the Udupi district government college and Muslim students wanting to wear a hijab while attending classes. They protested at the college entrance with placards in unison.

The girl students are being denied entry into the classrooms for wearing hijab along with the uniform. Five of them are studying in II PUC and three students are studying I PUC.

The students are turning down the demands of shunning hijab and are firm on their stand that until the government gives them permission to wear hijab and attend classes, they will sit outside the classrooms and continue to protest. They maintain that it is their religious freedom and constitutional right to wear hijab.

Talking to the media, one of the protesting students, Aliya said, “We came to the college wearing a hijab. However, we have been barred once again from attending the classes,”

The media quoted Resham and wrote, “We’ve been barred for 20 days for wearing hijab. We want justice”, this being the reply to another student, Muskan Zainab’s question, “The Constitution gives us the right to wear a hijab, why is the college stopping that?.”

The protest further escalated after the state’s Education Minister BC Nagesh told media the practice of wearing a Hijab amounted to “indiscipline” and that schools and colleges were “not a place to practice dharma”.

The minister also told the media that rules regarding the dress code had been in place since 1985 and that these protests only erupted 15-20 days ago and that the state government “has not fixed a uniform (dress) code” but urged the protesting students to nonetheless follow the rule.

Masood Manna, State Committee Member of Campus Front of India maintained that they are waiting for the government order. “It is a violation of the right of education and the right to practice religion. The students are not just fighting for themselves, but they are also fighting for coming generations to wear hijab while attending classes,” he said.

“If there is no solution given we will stage a protest. The students are facing mental torture. They are asked to go out by themselves or else they will be pushed out of classes if they attend classes wearing hijabs,” he said.