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'Religious Discrimination': Udupi Muslim Girls Fight On for Right To Wear Hijab

'Will push you out of class', a Udupi College lecturer told Muslim girls as they tried to enter class wearing hijab

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Three weeks after Government Women's PU college in Karnataka's Udupi barred the entry of six students for 'wearing a hijab', they are still fighting to enter their classrooms and attend their lessons. The college cited that "no religious activity will be allowed on campus", as the reason for barring their entry.

Speaking to The Cognate, one of the six students, Aliya Assadi said that a lecturer threatened to push them out of classrooms if they entered wearing a hijab.

"We are still sitting outside the class. We are not allowed to go inside the classroom. One day we had gone inside the classroom but the teacher's response was: 'If you don't go out of class, I will push you out of class.' These are the words from lecturers."
Aliya Assadi to The Cognate

All six girls have been marked absent from 31 December, and have not been able to attend their classes.

"Though it is our fundamental right, though it is our constitutional right, they are still not allowing us to go in the class because we are wearing hijab. There are lots of discrimination done in that college and we can't speak in Urdu. We can't do salam to each other. These are the discrimination done in that college. This matter is becoming communal," Assadi added.

'Will College Ask Girls to Not Wear Bindi': Activist

Zam Zam Kapthi, an activist from Campus Front Udupi, told The Quint whether the college will refrain from doing puja or asking students to not wear bindi.

"If you say no religious act, then no religious act should be done. But here they do perform puja. We don't say anything about it. People wear bindis. That's a religious activity, too. This is our dress code, so that's why we asked them to let us wear the hijab," Kapthi asked.

"They have lost their attendance because of this. They could be short on it too. When we came to speak to the principal about this, they are saying parents who came during admission for the kids should be here. How many parents are they expecting here then? We just told them one thing. Take them inside the class, we will leave from here."
Zam Zam Kapthi to The Quint

'Uniform a Egalitarian Approach': College Admin

Responding to criticism, Yashpal Suvarna, College Development Committee Vice President, told Deccan Herald that there are 150 Muslim students studying on campus, but only six of them "made an issue" out of the rule.

"These girls who are members of the Campus Front of India are keen on creating controversy. The college has its own rules, regulations and disciplinary procedures. The uniform was introduced to offer an egalitarian approach," Suvarna told Deccan Herald.

The college in Udupi is not the only one to ban hijab for Muslim students. Another state-run college in Chikkamagaluru banned saffron scarves, after 50 students protested the initial hijab ban by wearing saffron scarves.

"We want to see uniformity for the betterment of the students. The uniform will create a good atmosphere in schools and ensure there is no inferiority complex among students."
Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh to The News Minute

'Discrimination Based on Religion'

As the issue remains unresolved for three weeks, people on Twitter expressed solidarity with the girls who are being barred, calling it a "discrimination based on religion."

(With inputs from Pratiba Raman.)

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Topics:  KARNATAKA   Muslim   Udupi 

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