Karnataka: Girls in saffron scarves protest as Muslim students defy hijab diktat

Girls of a government college in Karnataka’s Kundapura on Saturday adorned saffron scarves in a protest against Muslim students wearing Hijab, within their college premises.

In the videos that surfaced on social media, several students can be seen wearing saffron scarves around their necks and raising slogans of “Jai Shri Ram” in a protest after Muslim students turned down the management’s order to attend college without headscarves, as per the state’s new guidelines.

Earlier, boys of the government college had come to the institution adorning saffron scarves.

Although the rule book of the college suggests that girls are allowed to wear Hijabs on the premises of the college, the management recently prohibited the girls from covering their heads, following the diktat of the state government. Muslim girls who wore headscarves were prevented from entering college.

The controversy that has been raging since early January, forced the state to call for a committee to look into the matter and take a call on pre-university college uniforms across the state.

The state had directed students, of all colleges, to shun the Hijab until the report of the high-level committee formed in this regard is submitted.

The ‘saffron fever’ has now spread to a large number of districts in Karnataka, including Hassan, Chickmanglur and Belagavi. Apart from Kundapura, Hindu students of PU colleges in Udupi’s Bhandarkar and Byandoor adorned saffron in protest against girls adorning Hijab.

In other developments over the row, a Muslim student has filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court seeking a declaration that wearing a hijab (headscarf) is a Fundamental Right guaranteed under Article 14 and 25 of the Constitution of India as it is an essential practice of Islam, the hearing for which is scheduled to take place on February 8.

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