The schools and colleges contribute a lot when it comes to providing a shape to the students’ future. The value education provides students with a positive view of life and motivates them to be better human beings. But, what if the schools that are meant to teach equality, begin indoctrinating students with prejudice and dissimilarity? Few of the schools in Karnataka were allowing Muslim girls to wear Hijab defying the government order.
However, Karnataka Education Minister took cognisance of the matter and announced that the practice amounted to “indiscipline” and schools and colleges are “not a place to practice dharma”.
Wearing Hijab is indiscipline, says Karnataka Minister
It has been a nearly a three-week-long stand-off between a government college in Karnataka’s Udupi district and a few Muslim students. Muslim girls want to wear a hijab during classes and thus they have begun protesting at the college gates with placards.
The students said that it is a violation of their fundamental rights to not let them wear a hijab. Moreover, they stated that they feel uncomfortable without hijab when sitting before male lecturers.
Reportedly, the protest came a day after college authorities and district officials warned the students that they “fall in line with the dress code and receive an education, or wear one and go home.”
The state’s Education Minister BC Nagesh while stating that wearing Hijab amounted to “indiscipline” also accused “a few people” referring to the PFI-associated Campus Front of India. Coming down heavily on the group, he said that the former is backing the students to politicise the issue ahead of the 2023 Assembly election. He also asked why the students “want to practice constitutional rights now”.
Earlier, while interacting with NDTV, Mr Nagesh had said that “Rules regarding the dress code had been in place since 1985 and that these protests only erupted 15-20 days ago.”
Pinning them down, he stated that “Over 100 Muslim students enrolled at that particular college had no issue and only these students don’t want to follow (the dress code)… School is not a place to practice dharma.”
Asked if the Education Department should infringe on the girls’ right to practice their religion, and if the wearing a hijab, or headscarf, violated any guidelines, Mr Nagesh pointed to the Congress.
He also highlighted the hypocrisy of the students. Revealing the dual nature of students, he had earlier asserted, “When Congress government was there… they followed the rule. But now they have a problem? Do they want to practice constitutional rights now? Indiscipline cannot be a right.”
Muslim girls protesting against college authorities
The Muslim girls protesting against college authorities to seek permission to wear Hijab have seemingly forgotten the idea of equality among students.
Aliya, one of the students, told the media, “We came to the college wearing a hijab. However, we have been barred once again from attending the classes.”
“There is religious discrimination in the college. We can’t say ‘salaam’… can’t talk in Urdu even though it is a government college. Other students are allowed to speak in Tulu (a local language)… lecturers speak to us in Tulu. But we are not allowed to speak in Urdu,” she added.
“We’ve been barred for 20 days for wearing hijab. We want justice,” Resham, another student, said.
“We can’t sit comfortably… That is why we are wearing a hijab. This is a government college… a girl’s college (but) we have male lecturers. If there are women lecturers, we don’t mind sitting without a hijab but we have male lecturers. We are not comfortable,” Safa, a second-year student, asserted.
The education and the educational institutions should not anyhow endorse the religion-based differences and thus Karnataka’s education minister needs to be appreciated for his valiant actions.