A debate over the headscarf also known as hijab worn by Muslim girls has surfaced in coastal area of Karnataka. The controversy is being heard in different parts of Karnataka as well.
Six female students belonging to the Government PU College for Girls in Udupi were not permitted to go to classes wearing hijab. The students protested on December 31, 2021, claiming the college was not permitting them to go to classes for the last 15 days. Udupi BJP MLA Raghupathi Bhat, who heads the college’s development committee, held a meeting with parents, guardians and other stakeholders. He advised students to follow the college’s dress code in the classroom. The six students decided to avoid going to the classroom. The students filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court, and also approached the National Human Rights Commission.
Following this episode, a gathering of young men at the Government Pre University College in Kundapur headed off to college donning saffron wraps in challenge to some girls going to classes wearing hijab.
Kundapura MLA Haladi Srinivas Shetty held a meeting with parents and asked students to comply with the dress code of the college till the government takes a final decision on the issue. The MLA said that some girl students of the college have been coming to brandish hijab for the last around five days. The girl students, on the other hand, have argued that they cannot be compelled to avoid the school following an ‘abrupt change in the clothing regulation’ to ban hijab. Several Hindu boys have been turning up wearing saffron shawls to counter girls wearing hijab, but they too have been barred from entering classrooms.
The Karnataka Government issued an order stating that students need to conform to the uniform/dress code prescribed by College Development Committees.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister B.C. Nagesh said rules framed under the Karnataka Educational Act 2013 and 2018 have empowered educational institutions to prescribe uniforms for school/PU college students. The department has issued a circular based on these rules and appealed to students to follow uniform rules prescribed by colleges till the High Court pronounced its verdict on the matter.