Women of Hyderabad stand in support of hijabi students in Karnataka

Hyderabad: Amid the ongoing hijab controversy still raging in Karnataka, and the state high court’s refusal to grant temporary relief, several women in Hyderabad held protest in solidarity to support the Karnataka students, near NTR garden on Sunday.

The protest was organized by several women who carryied placards near NTR Gardens, Khairatabad. The protest witnessed the presence of housewives, activists, advocates, and young children standing in a support of the Karnataka students.

The protest was led by Advocate Afsar Jahan, who spoke to Siasat.com, saying, “This is not a protest. It is a form of solidarity. This is a plea and request to the government and court to understand our concern, our fundamental rights, our pain, and our need. The entire confusion is because there is a clash between constitutional rights and state-made laws. Whenever there is a clash between articles, it is always up to the court to decide which law will prevail over which. So if our fundamental right is curtailed or hindered, the court has the power to decide which will prevail. So we are requesting the court to understand us. We are all waiting for the court’s judiciary. ” 

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City activist Sheela Sarah Matthews, who was standing in solidarity with the Muslim women, said, “Today we are standing here with our hijabi sisters of Karnataka, those young girls who are being forced to choose between their education and their religion. We are standing here in support because we believe that this is our fundamental right given to us by the constitution, “freedom of religion.”

“If you are saying that no religious symbol, then are you going to tell the Sikhs to take out their pagri (turban)?  Where is this going to stop? You can’t target one community. It’s not just a religious matter its about our constitution. We are fighting to preserve our constitution, which has been under constant attack for the past few years,” she added.

Azmath, another protestor, said, “My religion and constitution both give me the right to educate myself with my religion. So how can they ask me to remove my hijab? They are trying to incite a conflict between Hindu Muslims and the Sikh community, which cannot be allowed.”

On February 10, protests erupted across Hyderabad on Wednesday over the Karnataka hijab row as women in several parts of the city hit the streets to show solidarity with the college students of the neighbouring state.

The Hijab Row:

The hijab row commenced a month ago when female Muslim students were denied entry into a pre-university government college in Karnataka’s Udupi town. The reason offered by the administration was that the students adorned in hijabs were violating the dress code of their institute. The students on their end stated that, the hijab was an integral part of their religion and as such affirmed their right to practice their faith.

The hijab row soon made its way into other parts of northern Karnataka where right-wing students as well as, Muslim women (supported by ambedkarite and Muslim student activists) protested against and in favour of the hijab respectively.

On Thursday, the Karnataka High court stated that all educational institutions shall be reopened, and students can attend classes in keeping with the dress code (ie. without their hijabs).

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