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Karnataka Hijab Row: Students stick to demand

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Karnataka Hijab Row: Students stick to demand
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Bengaluru: The six students of government girls PU college in nearby Udupi district have turned down the suggestion of the college development committee that they opt for online classes if they are adamant about wearing hijab (Islamic headscarf) in the classroom

The girl students have been boycotting classes for the last four weeks as the college authorities refused permission for them to wear hijab inside classrooms.

Addressing media in Udupi on Thursday, the students, who are staging the protest, said wearing hijab is their constitutional right and they are not willing to attend online classes which are 'discriminatory.' Asked about other girls from the community attending classes without hijab, they said girls are not coming forward as they are scared of the problems they may face.

Education and rights are equally important, they said.

Meanwhile, Education Minister B.C. Nagesh and local BJP MLA Raghupathy Bhat on Thursday termed it an "international conspiracy".

"The Education Minister questioned why these kinds of problems arise only in a few pockets of the country. The forces against the nation are behind this", he accused.

"The debate on uniforms has been carried out throughout the country. Elders have made uniforms so that no child feels inferior. In Udupi College, School Management and Development Committee (SDMC) has made a rule since 1985. Parents, teachers are conveyed with this message. But, a few students are protesting", the minister said.

"The government has considered this very seriously and a high-level committee has been formed to decide on the uniform. Till then, no education institute in the state whether government or private can't change rules regarding uniforms. The institutions are being given the right to continue with their earlier guidelines", he stated.

Once the report is submitted, the matter will be discussed with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and until then status quo has to be maintained, he explained.

Raghupathy Bhat, Udupi BJP MLA stated that the matter is being resolved cordially. If the issue is left to the parents and students of the college and Muslims of Udupi, it can be resolved in one hour. It is not a problem at all. The problem is created by outsiders, he said.

The uniform problem suddenly surfaced after the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) won three seats in Kapu local elections. There is a big conspiracy, he added.

A.H. Almas, the protesting student when asked about attending online classes, stated that they are science students and required to attend lab classes and how will they be able to learn it online. When asked about them being asked to go to the college of their choice where hijab is allowed, she asked why they should go to another college as they are studying in a government college.

"We are not being allowed to sit outside the classroom and hear lecturing. If we discuss with any of our classmates on studies and get notes, they will be called to the chamber and warned not to help us. We are harassed. Those who are now not wearing hijabs will also start wearing if it is allowed. It is a very shameful matter for the government officials to not allow us to attend classes as they are not allowing our fundamental rights," Almas and other protesting students explained.

The Campus Front of India issued a statement that vehemently condemns the government's idea of banning the hijab in colleges that are contrary to the constitution's intent.

"Despite the issue being discussed at national and international levels, the silence of the department of undergraduate education, who should have intervened, is causing suspicion towards the department. The minister of Education's irresponsible statement that the hijab is 'indisciplined' results from a sense of religious intolerance too, " stated State President Athaulla Punjalkatte.

"While looking into these series of events, it is clear that the government and the Department of Undergraduate Education, who should uphold justice have continued to be unjust. Their inaction will be legally questioned," Punjalkatte added

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TAGS:Karnataka Hijab row Karnataka College Udupi 
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