To wear or not to wear the Hijab is not the point!

The hijab controversy plot thickens as supporters of Muslim students become targets of online bullying


Udupi’s Kundarpura’s Muslim girl students on February 3, 2022 took to sit-in protests outside their pre-University college to assert their right to wear a hijab on campus. Male students have joined this protest that decries the administration’s sudden decision to ban wearing of the hijab on campus shortly after protests by a right-wing students group.

Rights groups and Islamic groups have spoken out in support of these girls who opposed the college’s decision to take away their choice to wear a hijab. The People’s Uncion of Civil Liberties (PUCL)’s Karnataka Chapter cited the violation of basic fundamental rights like the right to equality and right to a dignified life aside from the constitutional freedom to practise any religion of choice.

Similarly, the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) condemned the government college’s “inhuman attitude” in closing the gate in the face of students wearing hijab.

“SIO strongly condemns this incident. This is a clear violation of the constitutional and educational rights of the students… The silence of the Deputy Commissioner and the concerned department has created anxiety among the students,” said the SIO.


Students have been especially concerned because the decision came only two months before Class 12 exams. Rummaging through college rulebooks, the girls even cited a clause that states “Girl students are permitted to wear the scarf inside the campus. However, the closure of the scarf should be test of their dupatta.”

Steeled with this fact, students on Friday entered the second day of their protest. Their demonstrations have garnered the support of netizens, political activists and other student unions.



Even journalists like Rana Ayyub, Faye D’Souza and radio jockey Sayema have voiced their solidarity with the trailblazing girls.



However, the right-wing goons soon turned upon the supporters questioning why THEY do not wear hijab despite supporting the students. In particular, people attacked Rana and Sayema who hail from the same community.


The whataboutery in this case is especially sickening considering the right-wing IT cell immediately began sharing nude photos of women in hijab or citing anti-hijab movements in other countries to shame supporters. This is not unlike the recent incident where women’s photos were shared on an app claiming to “sell” the women. To all this, the government has shown an overall apathetic attitude.

Shockingly, some people have even resorted to absurd queries like why D’Souza (a Christian) does not don a hijab or why secular elements support the hijab demand when women in places like Iran have suffered due to it.


It may be noted that women in such countries opposed the imposition of the hijab while the Udupi girls are protesting against the forced removal of the hijab. In both instances, it is the dismissal of consent and choice that the women are fighting against. Moreover, in a state that has reported multiple incidents of fake “love jihad” accusations and communal attacks, the forced removal of the hijab also works as an act of Islamophobia. The women who have been attacked in the crossfire remain in solidarity with the students with this in mind.


Meanwhile, the controversy worsens in the state. Where Karnataka had reported at least five hijab-ban incidents by Thursday, it reported two more incidents in Byndoor, Udupi and Ramadurga, Belgaum. Once again, students wearing saffron scarves demanded that their colleges ban hijabs.


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