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Will India Ban Hijab in Educational Institutions?

The row about Hijab in Educational institutions took the state of Karnataka by storm. We praise our country for being so diverse in religion. But sometimes, it is the very same religion that separates us from our fellow country people.

Protest against Hijab Ban in Indian Educational Institutions
Karnataka Protest Against Hijab Ban

An incident that happened on 3rd February in Kondapur Government PU College in Karnataka surprised everyone. A college did not allow Hijab wearing girls to enter the premises.

Court’s Say on Hijab in Educational Institutions

It didn’t take long for this matter to reach the notice of the High Court of Karnataka. Several Muslim students filed their petitions. They believed that this incident was violating their rights. However, the court announced that the hijab is not a “necessity’’ for people who practice Islam, even though Muslims believe the Hijab to be a major part of their religion.

Also Read: Hijab and Modesty in the true light of Islam

Muslim girls with Hijab
Girls wearing Hijab

This decision by the High Court directly violates Article 25, which boldly states that any citizen of India could practice any religion they want without interference from anyone. The court brushed it off and said that any piece of clothing that is disturbing the peace and harmony in educational institutions is a cause of concern. And Hijab in Educational Institutions is doing the same – according to the court at least.

This decision ignited a fire among the hijab-wearing students. Various protests took place in several parts of Karnataka. To counter-protest, the hijab protests, a group of Hindu college students came to school wearing saffron scarves. They announced that if girls turn up in Hijab, other students will come with saffron shawls.

The government received immediate reports if anyone showed up wearing Hijab or saffron clothing. This issue started getting popularity and attention in other states. Police soon involved themselves to prevent any communal riots. This situation led the Karnataka government to impose a 3-day holiday for every educational institute in the state.

Arrests and Disturbances

In Shivamogga and Bagalkot districts, police arrested five people from around the state for disturbing the peace in public areas. The Hijab in Educational institutions debate raised mixed opinions in the minds of people. The Karnataka government gave a strict order to not let any student wear anything religious such as hijab, saffron shawls, etc within classrooms till further notice.

Karnataka’s education department asks educational premises to create a separate sector for girls to remove their hijab inside the campus while abiding by the decision of the High Court of Karnataka. The High Court later clarified that these limitations to wearing poise clothes would imply only to state colleges where formal uniforms are compulsory to wear. The High Court also made it clear that the rule is for students and not the teachers.

Also Read: Islamophobia in India: The Hostile Treatment Against Muslims

The Rules and Regulations for Peace and Harmony

Soon after that, the infamous Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was inflicted in various parts of Karnataka. Gatherings, protests and any social events started getting restricted in the city of Bengaluru from March 15 to 21. Nothing in the name of protests for Hijab in Educational Institutions.

The government decided to not entertain that anymore. The Karnataka High Court still abides by its decision to ban the hijab in educational institutions. All these judicial decisions were taken by the full bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit, and Justice J M Khazi.

Political Angle to the Cause

Many people have started speculating that this is a tactic from The Bhartiya Janta Party whose main aim is to strengthen Hinduism and gain votes in the southern part of the country. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah didn’t like the sentence ‘’hijab is not an essential part of Islam’’ and they termed the ban on hijab as ‘’disappointing’’.

Other political parties like Congress also made their opinions public. Congress’ Siddaramaiah, who is the leader of the opposition of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, on the behalf of all Congress’ Muslim leaders stated that they support the Muslim girls in their struggle.

Even Rahul Gandhi stated that letting hijab in educational institutions hinder education will rob the future of the daughters of India.

Related Article: Hijab Controversy in India: A Dent on Education Right of Muslim Girls

Are these parties genuinely concerned about the situation in Karnataka? Or is this just a political agenda? That is out for public opinion.

There are always two sides to a coin…

Now, let’s look at the other side of the coin, people who are against the appeal of the hijab. They believe that some women are forced to wear hijab against their wishes. Some others bring up the idea that the idea of wearing hijab in schools and colleges violates their uniform dress code.

But people made many counter-arguments challenging these statements. ‘’If the government is banning hijab for the peace of the states, why are Sikhs still wearing a Patka or Dastar?’’ These items are very similar to wearing hijab in educational institutions, then why are Sikhs not getting the lecture on peace and harmony? Some have come out with the argument that favoring one religion over other is going to create a divide within the society.

This controversy has done nothing but divide the people of India. Should a hijab really come before one’s education? During the time of British rule, Hindus and Muslims were inseparable. They ate together, drank together, and even fought together against their mutual enemy.

Scenario Changed, So Should People

Today, students who were classmates sharing notes, pens, and tiffin not so long ago have now become foes. Are we still going to discriminate against someone who doesn’t chant ‘’Jay Shree Ram’’, are we still going to beat someone who prays in a masjid instead of a temple? ‘’God has no religion’’ a popular phrase said by the father of our nation. Would the people who sacrificed their lives so that we may breathe today be truly happy with the world we have directly or indirectly created today? If we can’t learn to be good humans, how will we ever find enlightenment? Is this just a fight for Hijab in educational institutions or a political infliction with the agenda of a divide?

‘’Unity in diversity’’ is a term we have learned and studied in our textbooks since childhood, we all like to say that ‘’India has so much unity among every religion’’ but after recent events, can we really say that with a straight face? Education is one of the only things that should NEVER be mixed with religion. Regardless of whatever religion a student might have, they should be given equal and fair opportunities for learning, as they are the future our country is depending on.

For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool.