Hijab, saffron scarves banned in Karnataka minority department-run institutions
The Karnataka government banned the wearing of the hijab and other religious attire in all educational institutions run by the state’s minority department, according to a circular issued by Major P Manivannan, the secretary for minority welfare, haj and wakf department.
The circular, dated February 16, stated that the restriction on religious attire will be applicable at residential schools run by the minority department and Moulana Azad Model Schools (English medium).
The circular quoted the order, “we request the state government and all their stakeholders to reopen the educational institutions and allow the students to return to the classes at the earliest. Pending consideration of all these petitions, we restrain all the students regardless of their religion or faith from wearing saffron shawls (Bhagwa), scarfs, hijab, religious flags or the like within the classroom until further orders.”
Several districts across Karnataka reported students of minority department-run institutions being allowed to wear hijab, an accepted practice in many places.
The circular comes when the resistance against the restrictions has seen a sharp rise since the first week of February, with protests reported from various districts of Karnataka.
Students, their parents and other supporters have remained steadfast in their demands to be allowed into class wearing the hijab.
They have said that Muslim students are being forced to choose between education and the freedom to practice their religion.
“We have had rules which we followed from before, which is that students can come with the hijab in Urdu schools, but they remove them in class. This system will continue, and we have had no problems so far over this,” said one official from a Moulana Azad School in Anekal taluk in Bengaluru Rural district. He requested not to be identified as he is a government employee.