CM says no plan to open colleges for Muslim girls, rejects waqf board claim

Updated on Dec 01, 2022 11:53 PM IST

It might be his personal view. This is not discussed at the government level and it is not the stand of my government, Bommai said

Basavaraj Bommai said the government has not given any consent to the board to open 10 colleges for girl students in the state. (PTI)
Basavaraj Bommai said the government has not given any consent to the board to open 10 colleges for girl students in the state. (PTI)

Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday rejected the claim by Karnataka Wakf Board chairman Maulana Shafti Saadi that the government has given consent to the board to open 10 colleges for girl students in the state.

“It might be his personal view. This is not discussed at the government level and it is not the stand of my government,” Bommai said, referring to Waqf Board chairman Saadi’s statement on Wednesday that the Board was planning to set up schools and colleges, exclusively for girls.

On Wednesday, Saadi had said 10 colleges will be opened for girls. “We have decided to start 10 colleges for girls in various districts in the state at a cost of 2.5 crore per college. The government has given consent to this project.”

According to the Waqf board chairman, the schools and colleges will be self-funded and will be set up at Mangaluru, Shivmogga, Hassan, Kodagu, Bijapur and Hubballi. The board has identified 16 acres of land in Dakshina Kannada district, he had said. “A total of 25 crore have been allotted for the educational institutions. There would be no autonomous rules for these colleges and they would follow the board and universities’ rules,” Saadi said.

The announcement had caught attention as the ban on hijab in educational institutes is in effect in the state. With the waqf board opening the schools and rules allowing private educational institutions to set up their own uniform codes, the announcement was looked at as a relief by the Muslim community.

Saadi said on Thursday the discussions have taken place at the Wakf Board level and the matter has not reached the government yet. “The proposal is still getting ready and will be sent to the government in the days to come.”

Since the controversy over the hijab in Karnataka, particularly the coastal region of the state, more than 16% of Muslim students studying in colleges affiliated to Mangalore University (MU) have taken transfer certificates. As per the data provided by Mangaluru University, in response to a query filed under Right to Information (RTI), these dropouts were reported in government and aided colleges affiliated to MU.

As many as 145 out of the total 900 Muslim girl students who had enrolled for various courses in 2020-21 and 2021-22 had collected TCs in government, aided and constituent colleges of MU in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, according to the data.

A closer look at the data shows that a higher number of TCs were reported in government colleges, while the number were lower in aided colleges. There are 39 government and 36 aided colleges in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.

When compared with the data across the state, the number of Muslim students who got TC in Udupi district was 14% while in Dakshina Kannada district the percentage was 13%. Both districts were at the epicentre of the controversy.

In Dayananda Pai government college in Mangaluru, where a confrontation took place between two groups of students when some Muslim students came to the college wearing hijab, 35 out of 51 Muslim girl students collected their TCs. In Government First Grade College in Haleangadi, 20 girl students sought transfer. Government First Grade College in Ajjarkad, the epicentre of the hijab row, saw nine students collecting their TCs.

Among the government-run colleges, Muslim female students have collected the highest number of TCs from Wazir’s SDM College (11) and Kundapur’s Bhandarkar College (13).

According to local media, while some students have taken admission in colleges where hijab is allowed, others have dropped out due to reasons like inability to pay the fee. However, in Kodagu district, all 113 Muslim girl students continue studying in their colleges. There are 10 government, aided and constituent colleges of MU in Kodagu district.

In December last year, at least eight Muslim students were stopped from entering class wearing the hijab. On January 1, the college development council (CDC) passed an order banning the hijab inside 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.

(With PTI inputs)

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