Some Muslim students in the Udupi district of Karnataka have been protesting to wear hijab to college. As the outrage takes centre stage, the Chief Minister of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommai asked everyone to keep the peace and let the students study.
Bommai said that the matter will be presented in High Court and till then peace should be maintained. The protesting students demanded to know what the central government’s right to education campaign Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has for them. The campaign spreads awareness about the education of girls in India.
Karnataka Hijab Protests:
The students claimed that they have been wearing hijab to college since the beginning of their college years and asked what has changed now. A student while speaking to media said, “They talk about ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, are they (Hindus) the only betis? Aren’t we the betis? We are the daughters of the country. Why suddenly does the government have a problem with hijab? I have been wearing it for three years here now, why is it a problem now?”
As per recent reports, the Muslim students of the government college also saw some students wearing saffron scarves to protest against the hijab. The Muslim students claimed that the saffron scarf clad students aim to throw the Muslim students out of the college. The protesting Muslim students also pressed on the fact that they have the right to education and the right to practice their religion.
Suggested Reading: Separate Classes For Students In Hijab: When Communalism Puts Education At Stake
The students also pointed out that they did not ask the Hindu students to not wear saffron scarves but highlighted that it is not the same as hijab. “It is not compulsory for them…it (hijab) is mandatory for us. We have been wearing it since childhood.”
Almost a month-long unrest in an Udupi government college started after they came up with the rule that students will be allowed to enter the campus wearing hijabs but they will have to remove it once they are inside the classrooms. The students who did not agree with the rule decided to wear the hijab regardless inside the classroom and were then met with punishment. The protests then spread to other colleges of the state with other institutions also applying the same dress code.
Karnataka State Primary and High School Education Minister BC Nagesh gave his statement when students wearing hijab were not allowed to enter college in Kundapura area. He said that the students will be allowed in the college campus as a “courtesy” and maintained that the students must follow the uniform code.
Nagesh also raised some eyebrows with his remark, “Ours is not a Pakistani culture. It is Indian culture. These girls aren’t aware of the school norms and customs, and they will understand later.” The matter is now being heard by the Karnataka High Court. The court will hear petitions filed by five women of a government pre-university college in Udupi challenging the hijab restrictions.