Denying Edu Over Hijab: No official ban on Hijab as in France, says Tharoortext_fields
Karnataka: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor asserted that there was no law banning the wearing of religious symbols or religious attires to government schools and colleges in India as there were in France, in response to a rebuke from Manipal University chairman Mohandas Pai who accused him of "politicising" the issue of Karnataka colleges banning hijabs.
Earlier, Tharoor had asserted that banning hijabs in colleges was a slippery slope and that girls should be free to decide what to wear.
"It's been a strength of India that everyone is free to wear what they want. If the hijab is disallowed, what about the Sikh turban? The Hindu's forehead mark? The Christian's crucifix? This college is going down a slippery slope. Let the girls in. Let them study. Let THEM decide," he had tweeted.
In response, Manipal University chiarman and former Infosys director Mohandas Pai had rebuked the Congress MP for attempting to politicise the issue.
"Please (sic) stop playing politics Shashi Tharoor all schools have a uniform code to create unity! Wearing this violates that code! If people want wear something else they must petition Govt to change the code, not play politics! In Kerala the Govt refused to allow this in another matter!" Pai tweeted.
Tharoor responded that unlike France, India had no laws preventing religious symbols in schools and colleges.
The controversy began when some students at a government pre-university college at Udupi came wearing hijab. Following those, the students of Kundapur PU College wore a hijab to the college and were stopped at the gate. On Wednesday, around 100 Hindu students came to classes wearing saffron shawls as a counter to the girls wearing hijabs.
On Thursday, Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said no religious robe - be it a hijab or a saffron shawl - will be allowed. "Schools are the place where children belonging to all religions should learn together and imbibe a feeling that we are not different, and all are children of Bharat Mata," the home minister said.
The diktat has received flak from political leaders with former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti saying that Beti bachao beti padhao is just a hollow slogan.
"Muslim girls are being denied the right to education simply because of their attire. Legitimising the marginalisation of Muslims is one more step towards converting Gandhi's India into Godse's India," Mufti said.
"Individuals are free to choose what to wear. You may or may not like their choice but that's a right we all have. If these public representatives can wear saffron robes, then these girls can use hijab. Muslims are not second class citizens," another J&K former CM, Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter.