Karnataka: Hijab-clad student secures 2nd rank in PUC exam

The Internet has been overjoyed with Ilham's success. Many shared her success story and pointed out that her religious identity did not deter her from securing a top rank.

On June 18, as Karnataka PUC results were being announced, Ilham, a Muslim woman who wears a Hijab, discovered that she had scored overall state second rank in the science stream. Her batchmate Anisha Mallya from the Commerce section also scored overall second rank in the state.

Both the girls have scored first rank in Dakshina Karnataka. While Ilham scored 597 out of 600, Anisha secured 595 out of 600 marks.

Ilham and Anisha are students of St Aloysius PU College from Mangalore in Dakshina Karnataka. The irony is worth noting as a mere few months ago the hijab row had engulfed the country?

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Speaking to reporters, Ilham said, “I am very excited. I checked my percentage which was 91.5%. I informed my relatives. After some time, I started getting calls from my cousins saying my name is coming in the news. At that moment I realised that I got a rank. Till then I was unaware.”

Ilham says she still has not come in terms of her success. Asked what would she want to become in the future, she said she was always interested in pursuing a career in BSc in Clinical Psychology.

Ilham’s parents are over the moon. Her father, Mohammed Rafiq, used to work in the Gulf as an IT employee and now is retired while her mother Moizatul Kubra is a housewife.

The Internet has been overjoyed with Ilham’s success. Many shared her success story and pointed out that her religious identity did not deter her from securing a top rank.

Few reactions are as follows:


Her classmate, Anisha Mallya, who secured Karnataka second rank in the Commerce section said the results were unexpected. “I have achieved this feat with the help of teachers and they have been really supportive. I gave my 100 percent. I am very happy and content,” Anisha said. She plans to continue studying in the same college.

In December 2021, six Muslim students wearing Hijab were banned from their school in Udupi, Karnataka. The management stated that they cannot enter the school wearing a hijab as it represents a religious symbol.

The issue soon spread in other schools of Dakshina Kannada which then snowballed into a national issue. Female Muslim students wearing hijabs were not allowed on the school premises. Even the teaching staff faced the brunt and many resigned.

In fact, it took a deadly turn with many Hindu students, all from pre-university colleges (PUC) started supporting the anti-hijab movement and partook in proests. Visuals of saffron shawl-clad teenagers in their school uniforms began flashing in news channels as the students revolted against their Muslim peers.

The issue took a legal turn with the six Muslim students filing a petition at the Karnataka high court against the state government of Karnataka. Unfortunately, the verdict was pronounced against the girls and Hijab has been banned.

For many, especially members from the right-wing sector, it was a huge win.

The Karnataka government made it clear that those wearing Hijab will neither be allowed into the classrooms nor allowed to sit in the recently concluded PUC examination. As a result, many young Muslim girls opted to stay at home rather than abandon the hijab.

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