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No Hijab or Saffron Shawls in schools, “not a place for religious observance”: K’taka Home Min

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Bengaluru: Amid a row over Hijabs and saffron shawls in some schools in Karnataka, State Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on Thursday explicated that both are not allowed in schools as educational institution is “not a place for religious observance”.

Also Read :- Karnataka Hijab Row: SC to hear on hijab controversy on September 5

“School is not for religious observance and children should not come to school to practice their religions. There are temples, churches, mosques for prayers, and religious worship. We are free to do anything there. Students must learn the culture that we are all children of Bharat Mata (Mother of India). What happens if the students won’t get the sacrament of ‘unity of the country’ at schools. One should think on it,” Jnanendra said.

Echoing similar sentiments, Karnataka Education Minister BC Nagesh told, “We didn’t want the education institution to become the war field of two communities. It’s a sacred place and every student should feel equal. We took a clear stand that this should not be done at the premises of the institutions.”

“We have said we will form the committee which will give the final report by next academic year and government will take a firm stand on that. They were not wearing the hijab earlier and this problem started only 20 days ago,” he was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the Hindu Jagarana Vedike has threatened to start a saffron shawl movement across the region, especially wherever Muslim girls are being allowed to wear the hijab in educational institutions. The right-wing outfit has threatened to ask Hindu boys in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts to wear saffron shawls to their classrooms if Muslim girls are allowed to wear the hijab.

Also Read :- Not allowed to take exams in Hijab, 2 Karnataka students of class 12 board leave

On Wednesday, around 40 Hindu boys of the Government Pre-University College in Kundapur entered their classrooms wearing saffron shawls.

“Government circular says students should wear the uniform and it should be for all. There is no exception for different castes, religions, etc. If they are given exemption then we will wear our religious symbols and saffron shawls. If everyone follows the dress code then we will also follow,” said Prakash Kukehalli, general secretary, Hindu Jagarana Vedike.

On February 1, a student of the girl’s pre-university college in Udupi district moved to the Karnataka High Court with a prayer to allow the right to wear a hijab’ inside the classroom. The writ petition was filed on behalf of the student Resham Farooq, represented by her brother Mubarak Farooq. The petitioner states that the student’s right to wear a hijab is a fundamental right guaranteed under Articles 14 and 25 of the Constitution and is an essential practice of Islam.

The petitioner also seeks to permit her and fellow students to attend classes wearing hijab without any interference from the college administration. In the petition, it is stated that the college at Udupi has denied entry to eight students who practice and profess the Islamic faith. These students were denied their fundamental right to education as they were wearing a hijab. The actions of the college administration are unconstitutional, arbitrary and exclusionary in nature, the petition claimed.

Shtahabish Shivanna, Arnav A Bagalwadi and Abhishek Janardhan are appearing for the petitioner. The first hearing is expected to be held by the end of this week. Udupi MLA and college development committee president K Raghupati Bhat, who met the students at the college who are protesting for the right to wear hijab, had on Monday categorically said that students with headscarf will not be allowed inside classrooms as per the decision of the education department.

Also Read :- "Don't Sensationalise": SC refuses to hold early hearing on Hijab Ban

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