Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh on Sunday said wearing of hijab (head scarf) would not be allowed during the 10th standard examination of the State board. The exam starts from Monday and ends on April 11. More than 8.76 lakh students are appearing for the exam in over 40,000 halls in 3,440 centres across the State.
“After the High Court order, we’ve not allowed that (hijab). We’ve given clarification that they (students with hijab) can come into the campus wearing the hijab but they cannot put it on in the classroom. The same condition will apply during the exams,” Nagesh told reporters here. He said there would not be re-examination for those who skip the exam.
Replying to a query, he said lawyers of the Supreme Court have argued for hijab before the Full Bench of the High Court, after which the verdict was delivered. The petitioners had challenged the government notification which banned usage of any cloth that could disturb peace, harmony and public order, and contended that wearing of hijab was a fundamental right, the Minister said.
He added that the petitioners had also questioned the powers given to the college development committee but the High Court dismissed them. It held that those who want to attend college have to abide by the uniform dress code, the Minister said. He said the rule must be strictly followed. “According to the Karnataka Education Act and the Rules, religious sentiments should not be part of the uniform dress rule. The same notification, the HC has upheld. Tomorrow, there is no scope of violation of the dress code,” Nagesh said. He said arrangements have been made to ensure that the exam takes place smoothly.
Meanwhile in Hubballi, over 120 km from here, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai appealed to the students to write the exam without fear. He said the Department of Education and the Department of Home have made arrangements for the smooth conduct of the exams.
“Keeping in view the welfare of students and the impact of COVID-19, we decided to hold an easy exam. Children have to write it and shape their future. I appeal to them to write the test freely, courageously,” Bommai said. Regarding former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s statement on hijab that has enraged seers, Bommai said, “There no need for such talk after the High Court passed an order.” Siddaramaiah, attending a function organised on Friday by a minority community, said Muslim girls were ready to wear uniform but were seeking permission to wear a ‘dupatta’ (shawl) on their head.
The dupatta is similar to the one worn by Jain women, Hindu women and Hindu seers. Let them wear. What is your problem?” Siddaramaiah had said.