Should Hijabs be allowed in colleges or not? There is an ongoing controversy in the colleges of Karnataka over wearing a Hijab. So, let’s know how the hijab row began?
How did the Hijab row begin?
The matter began in January at Government PU College, Udupi. Six students attending the class wearing Hijab were asked to leave the classroom. Those students protested and claimed that they weren’t allowed to attend the classes for the past 15 days.
Udupi’s BJP MLA Raghupathi Bhat who heads the college development committee held a meeting with parents and other stakeholders. He asked the students to follow the dress code set by the college, but the students decided to not attend classes. Consequently, they filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court and also went to the National Human Rights Commission.
After understanding the beginning of the row, know how the other educational institutions got involved in it.
When did other educational institutions become a part of the ongoing row?
Following this incident, a group of Boys at the government pre-university college in Kundanpur went to college wearing saffron scarfs. It was a way to protest against the girls who were attending college in Hijabs.
The MLA of Kundapura held a meeting with parents. He asked them to follow the dress code of the college until there is a final decision by the Government. He further said that some girls have been coming to colleges wearing Hijabs for the last 5 days.
On the other hand, those students said they can’t be forced to not attend college after a sudden dress code change to bar hijab. To counter this, many Hindu boys have been coming to college wearing saffron shawls. However, they haven’t even been allowed to enter classes.
Several similar cases have been reported in many colleges of the Udupi district in the coastal region of Karnataka. The matter heightened in Chikkamagaluru where students from IDSG Government First Grade College came to college wearing blue shawls. The slogans of Jai Bhim were raised Supporting Muslim girls. As per their stance, they supported wearing hijab in colleges as part of religious practice.
Further, let’s talk about the stance of the government and the recent developments in the matter.
The Stance of Government in the Hijab row:-
The Karnataka government issued an order stating that the students must follow the uniform or dress code decided by the college development committee.
Education Minister B.C Nagesh stated that the rules made by Karnataka Education Act 2013 and 2018 give educational institutions the authority to decide uniforms for school/PU college students.
As a result, the department issued a circular per these rules and requested the students to follow the dress code rules by colleges till the court gives a final decision.
Although uniforms are not compulsory in colleges, the college development committee headed by the local MLA has been insisting the students follow the dress code prescribed by the colleges.
Recent developments in the case:
The matter caused an escalation on February 8, as protests broke out and led to violence in a few districts. This made the government announce a 3-day holiday in schools and colleges across the state.
All this took place while the Karnataka High Court heard pleas in the case opposing the hijab ban in classrooms. To bring the situation under control section 144 was imposed in some parts of Shivamogga city when a group of saffron-clad students hoisted a saffron flag in the government first-grade college. Also, there were incidents of stone-pelting. Furthermore, in Davanagere district police fired tear-gas shells to control the law and order situation while imposing section 144.
The Chief Minister has announced that all classes up to class 10 will reopen. However, there will not be any religious dress code followed. Section 144 has been imposed to curb protests within a 200 meters radius from the educational institutions in the capital, Bangalore. Moreover, the Supreme Court declined the plea to urgently transfer the case to itself from the High Court.
The full bench of the High Court hearing pleas against the Hijab ban case has issued an interim order directing students to return to classes. However, the case is still going on, and the final decision is yet to come.