Karnataka: Muslim students barred entry in hijab, minister says keep religion away
Religion should be kept away from education and students should neither come wearing hijab or saffron shawls to schools, said Karnataka home minister Araga Jnanendra. The home minister’s statement came in the wake of a major controversy erupting in different parts of the state over the wearing of hijab (headscarf) by Muslim girls to educational institutes.
Jnanendra also asked police to keep a watch on religious organisations that are trying to undermine the country's unity over the issue. He further said no one should come to school to practise their religion as this is where all students should learn together with a feeling of oneness.
According to a PTI report, Muslim girls of the government pre-university college at Kundapur in Udupi district, who reached the institution wearing ‘hijab’ (headscarf) were stopped at the gate by the college principal during the day. The principal informed the students that they are not allowed to wear hijab inside the classrooms and asked them to remove the head dress and enter classes.
When the students argued that the government order on status quo has not mentioned the Kundapur college, the principal told them the government circular applies throughout the state.
A day ago, the campus had turned tense after about 100 Hindu boys came to classes wearing saffron shawls to protest against the girls’ wearing hijabs inside classrooms. They, however, did not repeat their protest on Thursday.
Later, Kundapur MLA Halady Srinivas Shetty spoke to the Muslim girls and their parents, but the latter continued to insist on the right to wear hijabs. State fisheries minister and Udupi district-in-charge S Angara said the status quo ordered by the state government disallowing hijabs inside classrooms will continue till a committee appointed to study the issue submits its report.
Jnanendra said, "Schools are the place where children belonging to all religions should learn together and imbibe a feeling that we are not different, and all are children of Bharat Mata."
There are places like churches, mosques and temples for people to freely practise their religion and offer prayers, while at schools there should be an academic atmosphere for children to develop a culture of national unity and integrity. Calling on everyone to think in this direction, he said, "There are religious organisations who think otherwise, I have asked police to keep a watch on them. Those who cause hindrance or undermine this country's unity, they have to be dealt with," he said.
Responding to a question about Hindu students wearing saffron shawls as a retaliatory move, Jnanendra said no one should come to school for practicing their religion.
(With inputs from agencies)