Govt college suspends six students for wearing hijab in K’taka
A district administration official said that the college principal informed them about the decision and said that the same has been taken following the Karnataka high court order on the dress codes in colleges.
A government pre-university college in Dakshina Kannada district on Thursday suspended six students for violation of the college’s dress code, making it first such case, said an official aware of the matter. An official from the district administration said that the Uppinangady Government Pre-University College suspended the students for wearing hijabs on campus, despite multiple warnings.
A district administration official said that the college principal informed them about the decision and said that the same has been taken following the Karnataka high court order on the dress codes in colleges. The Karnataka high court had previously upheld the state government’s ban on the hijab in educational institutions that have a mandated uniform, and since then, the hijab has been banned on more campuses in the state.
“The principal held a meeting with the management and the faculty members. In the meeting, all members agreed that the students were violating the high court order and that strict action needed to be taken since they were warned earlier also. The six girl students were given enough chances to follow the government order and the decision of the high court, prohibiting the wearing of hijab according to the management,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the authorities of Mangaluru University College near Hampanakatte have been sending back students who are wearing the hijab to campus. As many as 16 girl students who came wearing hijab to the premises demanded that they should be allowed to attend classes on Thursday.
Alleging that the Karnataka high court order on hijab in educational institutes is limited to pre-university colleges and not degree colleges, a group of students on March 30 had approached the deputy commissioner of Dakshina Kannada district seeking permission to wear the Islamic headscarves on the campus.
On May 16, the college decided to ban the hijab on the college premises, and a notice was issued the next day. A few days later a group of students, some of them affiliated with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), held a protest and claimed that the order is not being enforced.
College principal Anasuya Rai said that the syndicate had decided to ban the hijab after some students had approached the college management seeking a ban on the same. “On May 16, a syndicate meeting was held, where a decision to ban hijab was taken. We had put out the same on the notice board on May 17. After that, a few Muslim students stopped attending the classes,” the principal told reporters.
In December last year, at least eight Muslim students wearing hijab were stopped from entering the class. On January 1, the college development council (CDC) passed an order banning the hijab on campuses, leading to students sitting outside the college building, but within the campus, in protest.
College authorities maintained that the hijab was never allowed inside classrooms. By February, as the controversy spread across the state, there were counter-protests with some students wearing saffron shawls. On February 3, a video of the government PU college principal shutting the gates on at least 25 hijab-wearing students in Udupi’s Kundapura turned the issue into a wider movement. The controversy resulted in a court case, where the Karnataka high court upheld the college’s right to enforce a dress code and observed that hijab is not an essential religious practice.