K’taka allows hijab during government recruitment examstext_fields
Bengaluru: Amid the ongoing Hijab row in Karnataka, the state’s Higher Education minister MC Sudhakar on Saturday said that the Karnataka Examination Authority would now allow candidates to wear hijab during recruitment examinations for government services.
This decision comes just ahead of the recruitment examinations scheduled for October 28 and 29 for various government services.
Sudhakar said that denying individuals the right to wear the hijab would be a violation of their rights. He said that the people should verify the guidelines of the NEET examination, adding that it is allowed to write the exam wearing the Hijab.
"I think that the people who are protesting should verify the guidelines of the NEET exam. I don't know why they are making an issue out of this...People are allowed to wear Hijabs..." Sudhakar said, as quoted by NDTV.
“People are trying to create controversy in the matter of writing exams while wearing a hijab”, the Minister said, adding "I have taken measures in view of everyone's freedom".
Earlier on Sunday, in a progress review meeting held under the leadership of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Education Minister Sudhakar, it was decided that the students will be allowed to wear a Hijab while writing the exams.
Pro-Hindu groups have threatened to protest against the order announced by Minister Sudhakar.
The move marks a significant reversal from the stance of the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka, which had imposed a hijab ban in classrooms in February 2022, citing concerns over its impact on "equality, integrity, and public order".
This decision was prompted by an incident in December 2021, when six girls were barred from attending classes for wearing headscarves in a college in Udupi. Subsequently, protests spread to other parts of the state.
The girls challenged the ban, taking their case to the Karnataka High Court, which upheld the prohibition.
The court's judgment contended that wearing a hijab was not an essential practice of Islam. This ruling was subsequently appealed before the Supreme Court, which delivered a split verdict in October 2022.
A two-judge bench decided that the matter would be referred to the Chief Justice for further directions. As of now, the Supreme Court is yet to constitute a bench to hear the case.
Following the victory of the Congress party in the state's Assembly elections in May, Kaneez Fatima, the party's lone Muslim woman MLA, had said that the ban would be rescinded.