Hijab ban: US House Foreign Affairs Committee chairperson calls Karnataka HC’s verdict disappointing

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States is responsible for foreign policy legislation and oversight.

Washington: The US House Foreign Affairs Committee chairperson Gregory Meeks on Thursday expressed his disappointment over the Karnataka High Court’s verdict on wearing Hijab in educational institutions saying that the decision will restrict freedom of expression and effectively make girls choose between their religion and their right to education.

“Disappointed by the court’s decision to restrict freedom of expression, effectively making girls choose between religion & their right to an education,” said the Congressman.

“Whether in the US, India, or anywhere, how minority communities are treated is a true measure of a society,” he added. The US congressman has been chairing the US house committee on Foreign Affairs since 2021.

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A bench of Karnataka High Court comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit, and Justice JM Khazi on Tuesday held that the prescription of uniform is a reasonable restriction that students could not object to and dismissed various petitions challenging a ban on Hijab in education institutions saying they are without merit.

In its order, Karnataka High Court observed that the Holy Quran does not mandate the wearing of the hijab, and stated that it is a cultural practice and is used as apparel as a measure of social security.

The Hijab row had erupted in January this year when the Government PU College in Udupi allegedly barred six girls wearing the hijab from entering. Following this, the girls sat in protest outside college over being denied entry.

A batch of petitions was filed against the government’s rule in the Karnataka High Court by some girls seeking permission to wear the hijab in educational institutions.

On February 10, the High Court had issued an interim order stating that students should not wear any religious attire to classes till the court issued the final order. The hearings related to the Hijab case were concluded on February 25 and the court had reserved its judgment.

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States is responsible for foreign policy legislation and oversight.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would list for hearing after Holi break, appeals challenging Karnataka High Court’s order that dismissed petitions against the ban on Hijab in educational institutions.

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