Denying Edu Over Hijab: Boys protest for girls' right to wear hijab in K'tkatext_fields
Kundapur: A group of around 40 Muslim boys sat in solidarity with protesting female classmates outside the Bhandarkars Arts and Science Degree College as the Karnataka hijab row continues with fresh protests from students.
The students of the college, situated in a coastal town in the Udupi district, were protesting the ban of hijabs in the college when the college rules state that: The college has an instruction manual that says: "Girl students are permitted to wear the scarf inside the campus, however the colour of the scarf should match with the dupatta, and no student is allowed to wear any other cloth inside the campus including the college canteen."
Yesterday, another college in Kundapur saw identical scenes, when a group of hijab-wearing girls were shut out by the principal and stood outside for six hours, pleading to be allowed to attend classes. The Junior PU Government College had also allowed hijabs in class until two days ago, the girls complained.
Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra has taken a cautious approach towards the issue and emphasised that no religious clothing such as the hijab or the saffron shawl should be worn on campuses in college as they were institutes of education where children from all walks of life came to learn and be good Indian citizens.
"There are religious organisations who think otherwise, I have asked the police to keep a watch on them. Those who cause hindrance or undermine this country's unity, they have to be dealt with," he said.
In response to female students wearing hijab, boys in colleges began wearing a saffron scarf. The hijab protests began weeks ago at the Government Girls PU college in Udupi district when six students alleged that they had been barred from classes for insisting on wearing the hijab.
One of the two petitions that will be heard by the high court on February 8 have been filed by five of the protesting students. Another student has separately filed a similar plea, seeking restoration of her "fundamental right" to wear attire consonant with her faith. Both petitions accuse the college authorities and others of "shaming" students in hijab by invoking their religious identity.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also engaged in a war of words with Manipal University Chairman who accused him of politicising the issue by pointing out that if the hijab is banned then it could be a slipper slope for removing other religious symbols like the Sikh turban or Hindu tilak.
"...In any case there is no law banning religious forms of dress like a Sikh turban or a crucifix around your neck or a tilak on the forehead, all of which are forbidden in France's govt schools but permitted in India's," Tharoor said.