Hijab row: On day 1 of SLCC exam, K’taka school asks girl to remove burkha

Published on Mar 28, 2022 06:01 PM IST

The Karnataka government has clamped prohibitory orders in and around examination centres across the state and made school uniform compulsory for students appearing for the exam.

A student entering St Joseph's Convent Girls High School premises to appear for Karnataka SSLC exam on Monday. (Image for representation)(ANI)
A student entering St Joseph's Convent Girls High School premises to appear for Karnataka SSLC exam on Monday. (Image for representation)(ANI)
Written by Sharmita Kar | Edited by Sohini Goswami, New Delhi

A board examinee in Karnataka’s Hubli district was sent back home for not wearing the uniform and refusing to take off burkha and hijab. The class X student was allowed to appear for her papers only after having changed into her school uniform.

The SLCC examination is being held in the southern state close on the heels of a massive controversy over a ban on hijab (headscarf) on educational premises. The high court has upheld the ban that has now been challenged in the Supreme Court.

Monday’s incident happened at Shanti Niketan PU College exam centre on the first day of the SSLC exams conducted by the Karnataka board. As many as 8.73 lakh students are appearing for the exams.

After several rounds of protests across the state, the government clamped prohibitory orders in and around examination centres across the state to ensure the smooth conduct of exams and made uniform compulsory for examinees.

The decision, announced by Karnataka primary and secondary education minister BC Nagesh, was taken in line with the high court's verdict against students wearing religious attire to classrooms. The circular said students coming to attend the exam without uniform would not be allowed inside the exam hall.

However, visuals of girls being asked to remove their hijab and burkha before entering the exam halls surfaced from several places across the state. The minister had earlier said no re-examinations will be held for those who do not adhere to guidelines.

Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, who wished the students on the first day of the exam, asked the students to write their papers without any fear and focus on their future.

Former chief minister and Janata Dal leader HD Kumaraswamy also wrote in this regard on Twitter. "Do not be perturbed by the recent unpleasant incidents. Everyone should understand that the future is important. Parents should also not ignore. Let us not impose feelings on young minds," he said.

"Students of all faiths should write the exam by keeping their feelings aside. Do not skip the exam for any reason. A time will come to respect the feelings of children by clearing the tense atmosphere," he added.

Recently, the Karnataka high court ordered a ban on wearing of hijab in educational institutes, considering it a non-essential practice in Islam. Several girls had subsequently boycotted their classes and skipped the exams.

The order was challenged by a petitioner in the Supreme Court, seeking an early hearing of the matter. On March 24, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana refused an early hearing and said, "This has nothing to do with exams. Don't sensationalise the issue."

As per the schedule released by KSEEB, the SSLC exams commenced on March 28 and will be held till April 11.

(With inputs from agencies)

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