The controversy over the wearing of hijab (headscarves) by students crossed the state borders of Karnataka and surfaced in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Puducherry.
A fresh controversy over wearing hijab-burqa erupted at an Autonomous Post Graduate College in Madhya Pradesh has issued an order, banning wearing of hijab inside the college.
A video of a Muslim girl wearing a hijab and offering namaz inside classroom irritated the Hindutva mob, upon which, they filed a complaint with the varsity officials. Siding with the mob, the varsity officials have now ordered a probe into the incident.
The college principal order came following a complaint and protest by Hindu Jagaran Manch (Hindu Awakening Forum) including Akhila Bharata Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) the student wing of Modi’s party Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
Hindu Jagran Manch's member Umesh Saraf told media, that the girl in the video has been attending lectures wearing hijab for a long time. Hindutva groups said the students coming in Hijab for long but they offering Namaz inside the classroom is not acceptable.
Such religious activities should not be allowed in the educational institutions.
West Bengal Education Minister Bratya Basu linked it to what he called the BJP’s bid to “saffronise” education.
The head of the Students Federation of India (SFI), said they have also received complaints that some schools in Puducherry are imposing "drills" similar to the ones conducted in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the BJP.
After Madhya Pradesh and Puducherry, the hijab row that began in Karnataka has spread to Andhra Pradesh. Hijab-wearing students of Loyola College located in Vijayawada said that they were denied entry into classes.
The students said that they had never faced such an issue earlier and even their ID cards have their photographs in a burqa. In order to resolve the issue, parents, community elders are talking to the college principal and police.
Recently during National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2022, the Muslim students were ordered to remove their Hijab, Burkha and including Bras before entering the exam center.
A NEET examination center in Maharashtra reportedly made female Muslim students take off their hijabs and burkhas at the gate of the institute, after which the parents of the students were left outraged by the rigorous dress code norms.
During the hearing in Karnataka High Court, senior advocate Adv Mohammed Tahir, representing the Muslim Girls, challenging the ban on hijab, submitted before Karnataka High Court that discrimination against Muslim girls is purely based on religion.
Adv Mohammed Tahir
Mentioning that Hindu girls wearing Bindi and Christian girls wearing cross are not objectionable to Hindutva groups, the advocate asked why the Modi government picking on hijab alone. Adv Tahir submitted that no other religious symbol was considered in the impugned government order.
“Why only hijab? Is it not because of their religion?” he questioned and further added that discrimination against Muslim girls is purely based on religion.
The Karnataka High Court had on March 15 dismissed the petitions seeking permission to wear hijab or headscarf inside classrooms, observing that it is not a part of the essential religious practice in Islam. The Supreme Court, on March 24, refused to accord urgent hearing on the pleas challenging the Karnataka High Court's verdict
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