Karnataka Hijab row spreads to Puducherry, student reportedly told to remove headscarf

By | February 9, 2022

Several activists gathered outside a government school in Puducherry, on Monday, February 7, and held protests after a Muslim girl was allegedly not allowed to wear a hijab inside the class. Representatives of the Student Federation of India (SFI), Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, along with DMK functionary Mohan, visited the school in Ariyankuppam to enquire about the incident.

Activists who protested outside the school, however, allege that the girl student had been wearing a hijab for the last three years while attending classes and asked why it had become a problem now.

The student had said that she was not allowed to wear a hijab inside the classroom on Friday, February 4, which stoked the issue. However, school authorities stated that the girl used to wear purdah (shwal) up to the school campus. But, on Friday, she wore it inside the classroom, forcing the school authorities to call her parents.

As the police reached the spot, the protesting groups demanded action against the school authorities.

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Puducherry government’s Directorate of School Education has asked the Ariyankuppam Government School head to conduct an inquiry on the matter after activists also filed complaints regarding the issue.

On January 1, six Muslim students of a government Pre-University college in Karnataka’s Udupi were barred from attending classes wearing a hijab. The college management cited a new uniform policy behind the reason for the ban.

The issue has now spilled over to other government colleges in Udupi and other districts in Karnataka, with several students protesting against a ban on hijab. The protest took a violent turn on Tuesday, after incidents of stone-pelting were reported in Bagalkot. Police had to resort to lathi charge to clear the crowd, and section 144 was imposed in the district.

The Karnataka HC began hearing petitions seeking to allow students to enter classes wearing hijabs on Tuesday, February 8. Due to ongoing unrest in the state, Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai ordered schools and colleges to be shut for the next three days.

The HC is set to continue hearing petitions on the hijab row on Wednesday, February 9.

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