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Why govt picking on hijab alone, petitioners’ advocate asks HC

Karnataka hijab issue story; The hearing continued on Wednesday in the Karnataka High Court on the Hijab controversy that started from Udupi,

By Ground Report
New Update
Decoding Hijab Politics

Ground Report | New Delhi: Karnataka hijab issue story; The hearing continued on Wednesday in the Karnataka High Court on the Hijab controversy that started from Udupi, Karnataka.

During the hearing, the High Court was told that preventing girl students from wearing hijab is a prejudicial attitude. There are more than 100 religious symbols of different religions in India, but why such 'hostile attitude' was adopted with these same girl students?

Advocate Professor Ravi Varma Kumar, appearing for a student of Pre-University College, Udupi, told the court, “If people wearing turbans are allowed to serve in the army, then a person wearing the symbol of his religion should be sent to school. Why can't they be allowed to sit. If they are thrown out because of this, then it is a very strict step."

Describing this ban as a violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, Professor Kumar said, 'Hijab is worn only by Muslims. Veil is not banned. Nor is there a ban on bindi-bangles and crosses worn by Christians. Why only with these girls? This is only because of religion.

Let us tell you that the practice of covering the head has been very common in all the communities of India.

Referring to the judgments in the Nalsa and Puttuswamy cases, Professor Kumar said that "the goal of education is to provide plurality and not to promote homogeneity or uniformity. Its function is to promote diversity,"

Mr Kumar responded: “I am not expanding the proposition that I have made. I am only saying there is no prohibition against the hijab. The question that comes then is under what authority or rules I have been kept out of the class.”

He argued that there are several religious symbols used by all sections of society, so why was only the hijab being singled out for discrimination. While referring to a research paper based on a survey done on religious clothes and symbols, he argued: “Many Indians display religion through their attire. Half of the Hindus and Muslims, and a majority of Christians say they generally wear a religious pendant. Most Sikh men keep long hair. I am only showing the vast diversity of religious symbols in all sections of society… Bangles are worn. Are they not religious symbols? Why are you picking on these poor Muslim girls? Why is the government picking on the hijab alone and making this hostile discrimination?”

Not only this, the existing laws insist that there should be no uniform for children and if the principal insists on wearing it, action can be taken against them.

Along with this, there is no provision in the existing Act to give the College Development Committee (CDC) powers to decide on the uniform by the government.

The reason for this is that the chairman of the committee, who is an MLA, is not subordinate to the government. The job of legislators is to fix the accountability of the government. And CDC can only decide on infrastructure and grant access.

Meanwhile, in several districts of Karnataka, when girl students were prevented from coming to school wearing hijab, saying that the school administration should follow the interim order of the High Court, they left the school.

“Our principal called us to his room and told us about the high court order. He was very polite. We can understand his situation and told him that as we want the hijab, we will not attend the class. He assured us of online classes. In this way, we will not miss any class. We are lucky to be in this institution,” one of the girls told reporters

However, an institute in Udupi has said that it will conduct online classes for them.

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