Nearly a month after students donning hijab were denied entry in the Udupi government college, Muslim girls wearing hijab were once again stopped from entering Kundapur's Pre-University College on Thursday, 3 February.
The incident comes after students of two Karnataka colleges on Wednesday wore saffron scarves as a way of protesting against Muslim girls attending classes wearing hijabs.
A group of Hindu students wore saffron shawls to class in Kundapur PU College on Wednesday, to protest against 27 Muslim girl students attending classes in hijab.
Education Minister BC Nagesh has informed the college authorities that students can come to the classrooms only in uniforms and neither hijab nor saffron shawls will be allowed.
However, Hindu Jagaran Vedike leader Jagadish Kukkehalli said that the Hindu students were ready to shun saffron shawls only if Muslim girls attend classes without hijab, news agency IANS reported.
MV Govt College in Bhadravati Sees Similar 'Saffron Scarves' Protests
Similarly, at the M Vishweshwaraiah Government Arts and Commerce College in Bhadravati of Shivamogga district, some Hindu students attended classes in saffron shawls on Wednesday, protesting against Muslim students wearing hijab.
The protesting students have demanded that if hijab and burqa are permitted, then saffron shawls must also be allowed in the classrooms.
The college authorities have said that the uniform code has been in place since 2010, and that the students have to compulsorily wear the uniform only. A separate room has been provided by the college authorities to Muslim students to change into the uniform, IANS reported.
"Everyone is equal at college when it comes to the uniform, no discrimination in it. We have conveyed the same to students and parents. They have agreed to oblige."Principal MG Umashankar, as quoted by news agency ANI.
What Has Happened So Far?
The row had begun after the PU College in Udupi, a government-run institution, had denied eight Muslim girls entry to classes on 28 December 2021, as they had sought to wear a hijab along with their school uniform, in accordance with their religious traditions.
After the students donning hijab were denied entry into the classes on various occasions since then, they protested against the discriminatory practice by sitting outside the institution's premises.
The state government has set up a high-level committee to decide on the wearing of hijab by students in classrooms. Until the report is submitted, the government has asked students to attend classes in uniform without wearing hijab.
On Monday, a student of the college in Udupi approached the Karnataka High Court seeking directions to her college to permit entry into her classroom while wearing a hijab.
“Constitution of India guarantees the Freedom of Conscience and the right to profess, practise and propagate religion while reserving the state's right to interfere with the religious matter only if it involves an issue relating to public order, morality and health,” she stated in her petition.
(With inputs from IANS and ANI.)