No hijab, saffron scarves in our schools, colleges: Karnataka Minority Welfare Dept

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KARNATAKA GOVERNMENT has restrained students of all schools and colleges under the state Minority Welfare Department from wearing hijab, scarf, saffron shawls and religious flags to classrooms, saying it will abide by the High Court’s interim order on the hijab issue.

Minority Welfare, Hajj and Wakf Department Secretary P Manivannan said in a circular issued on Wednesday that the Karnataka High Court has in its interim order restrained students from wearing saffron shawls, scarves, hijab, religious flags in the classroom until further orders.

“The High Court order is applicable to residential schools, colleges, Maulana Azad Model English Medium schools coming under the Minority Welfare Department,” he said in the circular. “Against this background, wearing saffron shawl, scarves, hijab or any other religious flags is prohibited in the schools and colleges and Maulana Azad Model English Medium schools, which come under the department.”

The circular was issued a day after state Higher Education Minister C N Ashwathnarayan said that the High Court’s interim order was not applicable for degree college students.

State Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh on Thursday said all schools were running properly and incidents of girl students being denied entry to campuses over hijab were reported in only two or three institutions.

However, several such incidents outside schools and colleges were reported from across the state on Thursday.

Outside Mandya PES College, police allegedly told students in hijab to disperse or get booked for violating prohibitory orders issued under CrPC Section 144. The students were protesting denial of entry to them, arguing that the Higher Education Minister had clarified that there was no uniform for degree colleges.

Students sit in protest after being denied entry while wearing hijab, outside a college campus, in Chikmagalur. (PTI)

At Chikkamagaluru Government PU College, a parent got into an argument over non-entry with the principal, who said he was only following court orders.

In Hassan, students had an altercation with the police while staging a protest over entry to college being denied over hijab. Similar protests were reported from Ballari and Kodagu among others. The police in Belagavi district took into preventive custody some protesting youths. In Shivamogga, students who demanded that they be allowed inside college were asked to attend online classes.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Muslim MLAs of Congress party met Education Minister Nagesh and DGP Praveen Sood and submitted a memorandum, seeking entry of the students. In the letter, they said several degree colleges and schools sent back girl students for wearing hijab, citing the High Court order. It is distressing to see the authorities continue to misinterpret the court order, they said.

The interim order is applicable for those institutes which have a College Development Committee and prescribed uniform, they said in the letter, adding that it was not applicable to schools and degree colleges.

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