Despite the Karnataka government forming a high-level committee to decide on the “hijab” row and uniform code, the stalemate continued in the state with Muslim students refusing to attend classes without veil. Students of government girls PU college in nearby Udupi district have turned down the suggestion of the college that they opt for online classes if they are adamant on wearing hijab (Islamic headscarf) in the class room.
Meanwhile, Education Minister B.C. Nagesh and local BJP MLA Raghupathy Bhat on Thursday termed it an “international conspiracy”, according to news agency IANS. Nagesh questioned that why this kind of problems arise in only few pockets of the country. “The forces against the nation are behind this,” he said.
Addressing reporters 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 is ‘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.
Udupi MLA Raghupati Bhat, also chairman of the college development committee, had on Wednesday said the education department had ordered a status quo on the dress code in class rooms. A high-level committee has been constituted by the department to study the dress code in colleges in other states. If they are persisting with their demand, they can choose online classes, he had said.
‘Hijab Will Affect Secularism’
The Kerala government has dismissed a plea by a Muslim girl student seeking permission to wear hijab (head scarf) and full sleeve dress in the Student Police Cadet project as per her religious obligation, saying such a waiver in the state police’s programme will significantly affect secularism in the state.
The Student Police Cadet (SPC) Project is a school-based youth development initiative that trains high school students to evolve as future leaders of a democratic society by inculcating within them respect for the law, discipline, civic sense, empathy for vulnerable sections of society and resistance to social evils.
In its order, the State Home Department said the government, after careful examination of her representation “is fully satisfied that the demand of the complainant is not considerable.” “Also, if such a waiver is considered in the Student Police Cadet project, similar demands will be made on other similar forces, which will significantly affect the secularism of the state. Therefore, it is not appropriate to give any indication such that the religious symbols are highlighted in the uniform under the Student Police Cadet project”, it said.
The girl filed the petition with the state government after the Kerala High Court rejected her plea seeking to be attired in full-sleeves and headscarf (hijab) for Student Police uniform. The Court, however, had directed that she was free to submit a representation before the government narrating her grievance raised in the writ petition.
She submitted the representation before the state government in compliance with the judgment of the high court.The student had moved the court after the faculty of the Student Police Cadets informed her that wearing head scarf and full sleeve dress according to Islamic beliefs would not be allowed.
(With agency inputs)