A government college in Karnataka’s Udupi district has stopped Muslim students wearing hijab from attending classes.
According to reports, the said college allows students to wear burkhas or hijabs on the campus but they are asked to remove the hijabs before the classes begin. The students have been stopped from entering classes wearing hijabs for three weeks.
The students of the college started their protest against the college’s peculiar dress code on December 31. The principal of the college then tried to convince the students to follow the dress code, churidar and dupatta for girls. The same dress code has been followed since 1985 in the college. Reportedly, later six students protested against the code. They were joined by a seventh student on January 18. As per a report, all seven protestors are first and second-year pre-university students.
Karnataka College Hijab Controversy:
The Udupi Assitant Commissioner chaired a meeting on Wednesday which was attended by the district officials and the principal of the said government college. The protesting students and their parents also joined the meeting. The students were reportedly persuaded to follow the dress code. BC Nagesh, the Education Minister of Karnataka, had earlier said that the state has not fixed a uniform code but still asked the students to follow the rule set by the college.
He said, “94 students no problem… Kindly follow dress code.” Nagesh also accused the opposition party of politicising the issue as the protesting students of the college reportedly sought help from Popular Front of India-affiliated Campus Front of India.
Nagesh added, “There is only one reason for this trigger… Assembly Election is due in 2023. They (the opposition) have no good ideas planned to woo voters… trying to polarise. The government has not fixed a uniform code… we accept that. (But) in 1985 the SDMC mandated a uniform dress code and they (the college authorities) want to stick to that.”
The minister said that the uniform code has been in place for the past 36 years. He said that the college has maximum number of Muslim students and 94 of them have no issue in following the code. He said, “It is only six who have an issue now. We just have one request – kindly follow the dress code.”
The General Secretary of the Popular Front Of India, Nasir Pasha had earlier accused some colleges in Karnataka of creating controversy over the hijab and violating the religious freedom of the Muslim students. Earlier this month, after the protests broke out the Udupi college campus, many students showed up to campus wearing saffron coloured scarves to counter the hijab wearing students.