The Karnataka colleges hijab row escalated further Saturday with a group of students taking to the streets in saffron scarves, in protest against women demanding to be allowed to study with their religious headscarves on. Reports suggest at least five colleges in the state have barred Muslim girls from entering campus with their hijabs on. The education department has come out with a new order, detailing that clothes affecting harmony or equality will be banned.
As shared by the Minister of Primary & Secondary Education BC Nagesh, the state government has given an official mandate on the dress code of all state schools and colleges in Karnataka.
While students attending government institutions will have to adhere to sartorial rules set down by state authorities, students at private institutions are expected to follow the uniform mandates put forth by management.
The state government has also invoked section 133 (2) of the Karnataka Education Act-1983 which allows it to give “directions to any educational institution or tutorial institution as in its opinion are necessary or expedient for carrying out the purposes of this Act… institution shall comply with every such direction.”
In the absence of a code, students are permitted to put on attire that does not affect harmony or equality or public order. Follow updates in the hijab row here.
“…the education department has noticed that in some education institutions, the boys and girls have started behaving according to their religion, which hurts the equality and unity,” the order states.
The government order, further invoking past court judgments, noted that compelling a student to remove the headscarf in class does not amount to a violation of fundamental rights.
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In a student-college dispute that has taken over Udupi, Karnataka, several colleges have allegedly closed their doors on Muslim girl students insisting on their right to wear the hijab during lessons. The row began last year in December when a government institution in the district barred a group of Muslim girls from taking classes and images surfaced of them studying outside of their classrooms. More here. Since then, a few colleges have even shuttered their gates on hijab-clad students.
The Home Minister of Karnataka told the press earlier this week that students should don neither headscarves nor saffron scarves on campus. “Schools are the place where children belonging to all religions should learn together and imbibe a feeling that we are not different, and all are children of Bharat Mata,” he said.
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