Karnataka: Muslim women boycott classes in protest of HC judgment

The Karnataka high court pronounced its verdict in the hijab row and proclaimed that “hijab is not an essential part of Islam”. As such, hijab-clad students have been asked to abide by the college dress code while attending classes. Soon after the judgment, hijab-clad women in Yadgiri, Karnataka boycotted classes and exams in protest.

A video shows a bunch of Muslim students stepping out of their college and leaving.

Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi who headed the full bench of the High Court said, “We are of the considered opinion that wearing of Hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith.” The other two judges in the panel were Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice J M Khazi.

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The bench also maintained that the government has power to issue impugned government order dated February 5, 2022 and no case is made out for its invalidation. By the said order, the state government had banned wearing clothes which disturb equality, integrity and public order in schools and colleges.

Background of the Hijab Row

The hijab controversy erupted and has been raging since January, after students of a pre-university college in Karnataka’s Udupi were prohibited from wearing headscarves (hijab), as part of their religious obligation, in the college premises. The issue blew up after Hindu students turned up to their colleges wearing saffron scarves in a protest against hijab Muslims being allowed to wear headscarves.

The state was forced to form a committee to decide over the issue and prohibited the students from wearing any religious garment, including the hijab until a decision is reached.

However, a number of protests by saffron-clad students and Muslims around the state forced the state to shut down schools and colleges for a few days.

Educational institutions that were shut down by the state were directed to reopen, ensuring that the state’s diktat, which prevents any religious garment from being worn to the institutions, is strictly adhered to.

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