Girls in hijabs barred from university prep schools in southern India

Karnataka High Court blocked last week students from wearing religious garments until final ruling announced


Anadolu Agency February 16, 2022
PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI:

Muslim students on Wednesday were denied entry in several pre-university colleges in India’s southern Karnataka state as they were asked to remove their hijabs before entering classes.

The colleges in India reopened on Wednesday after they remained closed for a week amid the dispute over the hijab ban.

Students refused to remove their headscarves in the Shivamogga city and preferred missing class instead, according to Press Trust of India, a news agency.

Read more: School hijab row highlights India's religious divide

Footages shared on social media showed students at various colleges in Karnataka were being asked to remove their hijabs to attend classes, with most of them refusing to do so.

Last week, the Karnataka High Court blocked students from wearing religious garments until it makes a final ruling on the matter.

A three-judge panel has been hearing the case again since Monday to decide if schools and colleges can order students not to wear the hijab in classrooms.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai said on Wednesday that the court order applies to institutions that have a dress code.

“The order doesn’t apply to where there is no dress code," he said in a statement.

A group of Muslim women filed petitions against the government order banning the hijab on college premises. The hijab row erupted - WHEN - after a college in Karnataka told students to take off their headscarves inside the classroom.

Also read: India's hijab dispute reaches its most populous state

Those protesting the move cited the Constitution that allows Indians to wear clothes of their choice and display religious symbols.

According to the Constitution, every citizen has the right to practice, profess and propagate religion. The right can be curtailed only on grounds of public order, morality, and health.

Meanwhile, India on Tuesday criticised the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) after it expressed “deep concerns” over the ongoing hijab controversy and recent calls for genocide of Muslims by right-wing Hindu groups in India.

Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that the OIC “continues to be hijacked by vested interests to further their nefarious propaganda against India.

“Issues in India are considered and resolved in accordance with our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as democratic ethos and polity,” the official added.

The OIC urged the international committee, particularly the UN, to “take necessary measures” regarding the issue.

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