Karnataka: Hindutva goons force hijab-clad students to leave college

The Hijab controversy that erupted in the state of Karnataka in January, amidst heavy preparations for assembly polls in five states, sees no end even as the country awaits the result of the polls on March 10.

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On Tuesday, Hindutva goons entered a government college in Mugtahalli, Chickmanglur without permission and forced Hijab-clad students to leave college if they won’t remove their headscarves.

The Hindutva goons Madhu and his brother Manohar, are reportedly local panchayat members who forced Muslim students to leave the institution when they disagreed to remove their hijabs, in the presence of the college staff.

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The goons paid no heed to the students’ requests who pleaded with them not to ruin their studies, with preparatory examinations scheduled to take place in a week.

A courageous student who stood up to the goons and questioned their hooliganism was threatened by Manohar.

The school authorities who did little to stop the notorious goons from creating unrest and disrupting the peaceful atmosphere of the college have not filed any complaint against them.

Pro-hijab protest continue:

Female Muslim students in Shivamogga who wait for the high court to pronounce its judgment over the hijab row, continue to protest against the state’s diktat that banned the donning of all religious attires including hijabs until the high court pronounced a verdict over the same.

A large number of hijab-clad students who participated in the protests, held placards and raised slogans demanding justice.

The Hijab Row:

The Karnataka High Court bench on February 25 concluded hearing petitions seeking the right to wear a hijab while attending classes and asked all counsel to submit written submissions as it reserved its verdict.

The three-judge bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justices Krishna S. Dixit, and J.M. Khazi heard arguments and counter-arguments for 11 days on a day-to-day basis considering the urgency and sensitivity of the matter.

Counsel appearing for petitioners who are college students maintained that the government order issued in this regard does not have any legal standing and it violated their fundamental right to practice religion and thereby denied the right to education which is paramount. They also argued that the constitution of the College Development Committee (CDC), and the School Development and Management Committee (SDMC) do not have legal sanctity.

The government, through Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi, argued that the government has no role in taking decisions on wearing of the hijab, and it is left to the discretion of the CDCs and SDMCs.

The hijab row which started from Udupi Pre-University Girls’ College has become a crisis in the state, with students refusing to attend classes without hijab and maintaining that they will wait until the final verdict is given. Though the high court had issued an interim order banning both hijab and saffron shawls or scarves inside the classrooms, the agitation is ongoing.

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