Another hijab controversy unfolds in Karnataka when a College Principal in Vijayapura district banned a large group of hijab-wearing students from entering the premises on February 16, 2022.
As the Karnataka High Court continues to hear petitions regarding the wearing of hijabs by students inside educational institutions, government PU college in Vijayapura disallowed hijab-wearing students from entering classrooms citing interim orders. As per the document, schools and colleges can resume provided no student wears any form of religious clothing in classrooms.
However, the enraged students said authorities had not informed them about this decision in WhatsApp groups.
#Hijab wearing students is having a standoff with college principal in #Vijayapura #Karnataka over allowing them inside classes. They argue no message came in college #WhatsApp group about no hijab.Principal says- he is following HC order.They have exams 2day #KarnatakaHijabRow pic.twitter.com/Q8DRhvQRWG
— Imran Khan (@KeypadGuerilla) February 16, 2022
According to NDTV, the students were initially stopped at the entrance but the girls forced their way through. Eventually, they were allowed a separate space inside the college to take off their hijabs and burqas, and attend lectures.
Since February 15 when the latest court hearing took place, social media has been flooded with reports of students, teachers and staff alike being forced to publicly take off their hijab. In some cases, women are also forced to take off their burqas.
— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) February 14, 2022
However, the more gruesome development in recent days has been the censure of hijab within schools as well. After PU and degree students, young middle school and high school girls are nowadays being forced to assert their constitutional rights in front of authorities.
In Shimoga, a young girl was turned away from her school for wearing a hijab on February 15. Shockingly, she was chased/ followed in a sprint, not by school authorities, but a local reporter. The reporter then proceeded to record the child. Meanwhile, the girl can be seen in the video, visibly scared of a full-grown man following her with a phone camera.
School kid with Hijab is being followed/Chased by a “REPORTER” in Karnataka.Muslims are being humiliated and hounded on daily basis. It’s disturbing to see this very disturbing as a citizen of India and fellow Muslim.?#KarnatakaHijabRow pic.twitter.com/G9VD7KfOW2
— Mister J. (@Angryoldman_J) February 15, 2022
The incident garnered severe criticism from social media.
Someone put it right!
— Undefeated_Faith (@Shaad_Bajpe) February 15, 2022
However, with every passing hour such horrors only continue in the state. In another district of Chikkamagaluru the Mudigere Girls High School banned hijab wearing school girls from entering the place. The group of schoolgirls were previously allowed to wear the garb inside the place. However, local reports said police personnel instructed the Principal to make the hijabi students sit outside the school. This despite the fact that courts have not given any order regarding schools.
A school in Mudigere where initially the students were allowed to wear scarf but then the police dept entered the school and forcefully made the principal to make the students remain outside of the school gate.#KarnatakaHijabRow pic.twitter.com/hkdo14jXja
— Undefeated_Faith (@Shaad_Bajpe) February 15, 2022
Similarly, on Tuesday, a school in Nellihudikeri village of Kodagu district asked students to take off their hijab before entering schools. However, the girls refused to take off their scarves and marched out of the school as a sign of protest.
“I will not remove my Hijab” : a student says as she walks out of her school campus in Kodagu’s NelliHudikeri. Second day now that these girls are turning up to school with #Hijab & requesting management to allow them who refuse citing HC orders. #KarnatakaHijabRow pic.twitter.com/QWfc0a2Ryj
— Deepak Bopanna (@dpkBopanna) February 15, 2022
Worrying ascent in the Hate Pyramid
The targeted exclusion of hijab from educational institutions is another example of communal hate that fits neatly into the concept of a Hate Pyramid introduced by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) Secretary Teesta Setalvad. The Pyramid explains how minute biases and prejudices like looking down on one’s appearance, mannerisms, method of praying has the capacity to consume us within a society.
“It is these bias attitudes of stereotyping, insensitive remarks, fear of differences, non-inclusive language, micro aggressions justifying biases by seeking out like-minded people, that takes shape in the form of hate,” said Setalvad.
A prejudiced attitude – that is well prevalent in Indian society – is only the first stage in the pyramid. Howver, the continued exclusion of students from educational institutions jumps to the third stage of “Discrimination” that includes educational discrimination and harassment. This stage has already spread to other states like Madhya Pradesh and Pondicherry.
Moreover, Karnataka even entered the fourth stage of the pyramid “Violence” when student protests turned violent with right-wing elements wreaking havoc. This fact is worrying in terms of internal national peace because the next and final stage of this pyramid is “Genocide” – the deliberate, systematic extermination of an entire people.
As such, the recent incidents regarding the Hijab controversy must be seen with this prevalent bias in mind.
Karnataka govt’s ominous silence at the communal mobilisation of students
CJP’s Hate Hatao Campaign: A half-yearly report
To wear or not to wear the Hijab is not the point!
Two more hijab controversies in Karnataka
Hate as a State project is not a new phenomenon: Survivors
Karnataka Veil Issue: Should Muslims Choose the Veil Over Education?