Karnataka: Muslim girl asked to not wear hijab to school, after students protested wearing saffron shawls

The hijab ban continues to evoke student protests against Muslim girls wearing the hijab, as a recent case from a private college in Karnataka reveals a girl wearing a hijab was told to remove it after students protested against her wearing the head covering.
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In a private college in Karnataka’s Hassan, a group of students had reportedly initiated a gathering against a Muslim girl’s decision to wear the hijab within the institute. The protestors, who were mostly from Hindu communities as per reports, wore saffron shawls as they gathered against the girl’s act of wearing a headscarf.

Range Gowda, the Principal of Vidya Soudha College, revealed that the incident took place on March 6 after which the college authorities soon convened a meeting with the Muslim students and their parents. As per the report, the girls agreed not to wear the hijab again.

Gowda also stated that students who participated in the protest by wearing saffron shawls have been instructed to stop their demonstrations. As per a report by India Today, the Block Education Officer was unaware of the issue, and the Hassan Superintendent of Police is actively collecting information from the Education department.

In February 2022, the Basavaraj Bommai led BJP government in Karnataka had released a government order banning the hijab in government educational institutes. The move had seen widespread protests by Muslim students, who argued for their right to religion and education. As per report, the ban of hijab in classrooms led to over a 1000 Muslim girls dropping out of school during the incident. The government order had been challenged in the court with a petition. However, in March 2022, the Karnataka High Court ruled that the hijab is not an essential religious practice in Islam and thereby the ban was not impinging on the right to freedom of religion. The order was challenged by filing it further in the Supreme Court which finally delivered a split verdict on the issue and recommended it to be referred to a larger bench.

In December 2023, Congress’ Siddaramaiah had reportedly proposed after their electoral victory that they would be reversing the previous government ban on hijab in educational institutes, however, as of now, no such order has arrived. As per The Hindu, BJP’s R. Ashok said that the Congress government was making way for ‘religious identity politics in the classroom’. Similarly, a report by The Hindu has suggested that the chief minister has been made aware by the leaders at the Centre to not make decisions that may be ‘sensitive issues’ before the 2024 upcoming Lok Sabha elections and also as the case remains pending in the Supreme Court.

In recent news, the new BJP government in Rajasthan has also been dropping hints about bringing forth a ban on the hijab in government institutions. In January 2024, students in a school in Jodhpur were also reportedly called ‘chambal ke daaku’ after teachers turned away Muslim girl students who wore the hijab from entering the school. The students have claimed that they were harassed and have been threatened and that their marks would be deducted.

In a similar vein, BJP Agriculture minister Kirori Lal Meena had stated that the hijab is a ‘symbol of subjugation introduced by the Mughals.’ Meena also reportedly told the media that he will be discussing a ban on hijab with Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma. The call for a hijab ban in schools was also supported by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Similarly, there were also reports that a committee was formed for drafting regulations to formulate a hijab ban in government schools in the state and has been seeking reports from other state on the topic.



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Rajasthan: Muslim students barred from school, called ‘Chambal ke Daaku’ for wearing hijab



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