No plans to allow hijab-friendly schools & colleges: Karnataka CMtext_fields
Bengaluru: Brushing off reports that the Karnataka government has agreed to allow hijab-friendly schools and colleges in the state, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that such a discussion never happened within the government, The Times of India (TOI) reported.
"This matter has not been discussed in our government, and it is not the stand of our government," TOI quoted the minister.
The surfaced news reports suggested that the state government gave its consent to the Karnataka State Board of Auqaf (KSBoA) to start ten hijab-friendly campuses for Muslim students.
Bommai issued the clarification after Hindu right-wing groups threatened to start protests against such a move.
Recently, KSBoA chairman Maulana Shafi Saadi announced that the board had decided to open colleges for Muslim girls in Dakshina Kannada, Shivamogga, Kodagu, Chikkodi, Nippani, Kalaburagi, Vijayapura and Bagalkot districts in the state. The board had estimated a cost of Rs 2.5 Crore per college too.
It was reported that, as per Saadi's announcement, Muslim women would be allowed to wear the hijab in these colleges. He claimed that the Haj and Waqf minister Shashikala Jolle gave her nod to the move as well as a delegation has been sent to Union Minister for women and child development Smriti Irani on the matter, reports suggested.
However, Shashikala Jolle also said that there was no such proposal before the government. She said she had communicated with the waqf board chairman to issue a clarification on the ongoing speculation on the matter.
Later, Saadi informed that his words were misquoted and added that there was no such proposal for schools exclusively for Muslims. He said that he told the media that the board has a Rs 25 crore fund, and Rs 2.5 crore each will be allowed to women's colleges in the ten districts named above.
The hijab row, which began in January this year, has become a big subject and reached beyond national boundaries across the world. Muslim girl students were forced to remove their hijabs while inside educational institutions, were banished from campuses, prohibited from writing exams etc., after Hindu right-wing outfits staged demonstrations inside campuses in certain districts of Karnataka. These outfits taunted and heckled Muslim girls, to which no actions were taken, and the issue reached the courts. Prominent persons, activists etc., both national and international, reacted to the incidents and condemned the attack by fascist forces on the girls.
The state government, led by BJP, released a tailor-made order mandating a ban on headwear inside campuses but using carefully chosen words.
Karnataka High Court had upheld the government's decision banning hijab inside government-run educational institutions. In October, the Supreme Court pronounced a split verdict in allowing hijab inside campuses. The matter is referred to a broader SC bench.