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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightReport on Hijab ban...

Report on Hijab ban reveals a grim picture of persecution of Muslim students

Report on Hijab ban reveals a grim picture of persecution of Muslim students

Bengaluru: A report titled ‘Closing the Gates to Education’ prepared by People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) reveals the persecution and harassment being faced by Muslim girl students who were forced to stop attending government-run educational institutions after the Karnataka High Court pronounced a verdict in line with the state government’s decision to ban Hijab inside the classroom.

Several Muslim students did not attend their exam in the last academic year following the verdict that favoured the government stand and many students got admitted to private institutions so that they could continue their studies along with their choice of wearing hijab.

The Hijab ban in educational institutions has made Muslim girls students were to be portrayed as offenders as though they committed a crime by wearing hijab and educational institutions deployed a police force at the gate to stop students wearing hijab from attending class.

The report highlighted that by the decision, the government has backtracked from its constitutional duty of upholding the right to education to everyone, irrespective of religion, caste, creed and gender. The ban was seen as a deliberate attempt by the BJP-led state government to deny education to Muslim girl students.

"What the government of Karnataka has done is not uphold the right to education, but deny it. Many girl students did not appear for their final examinations and transferred to other institutions, prompting segregation of students based on religion," said Arvind Narrain, president of PUCL, Karnataka.

One of the students in Udupi who documented in the report who sought admission to minority-run a institution after the hijab ban said that she now feels safer among Muslim students as compared to the government institution where nobody came to their help when they were in need.

When talking about the media scrutiny through which the Hijab wearing Muslim students were forced to go, the report said how did the institutions and police forces work hand in hand to thwart students who were in their headscarves from the institutional compound besides taking photos of the students.

"A common testimony from students was that the police were walking in our corridors and taking their photos," said Aishwarya Ravikumar, who was part of the team that worked on the report. "This is an unprecedented situation where the state machinery is actively trying to throw students out of classes and out of education," said Poorna Ravishankar, another member of the PUCL team.

The Karnataka High Court in March 2022 while hearing a petition against a government-run pre-university college in the Udupi district that barred Muslim girl students from entering the classroom wearing Hijab pronounced a verdict that effectively barred the wearing of hijab in educational institutions in the state.

A full bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna Dixit and Justice JM Khazi had held that wearing of hijab by Muslims was not an essential religious practice of Islam.

On the heels of the High Court order, the state government has released a notification mandating a dress code, banning the wearing of clothes which disturb equality, integrity, and public order in schools and colleges.

This government order was challenged, with Muslim girl students arguing in court that wearing the hijab is a part of their faith and that it is their fundamental right to do so.

A larger bench of the Supreme Court will now examine the issue.

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TAGS:BJP governmentHijab BanKarnataka GovernmentDenying EducationClosing the Gates to Education
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