On Camera, Student Told To “Remove That (Hijab)” At Karnataka School Gate

On Camera, Student Told To “Remove That (Hijab)” At Karnataka School Gate


Students at a government-aided school in Karnataka’s Mandya district were directed to remove their hijab before entering the campus Monday, in accordance with an interim High Court order last week that said educational institutions can re-open but no religious clothing would be allowed.

Visuals shared by news agency ANI show a woman (presumably a teacher) stopping students wearing hijabs at the school gates and ordering one student to “remove that, remove that”.

The video also shows some parents arguing as their children are stopped from entering the school.

After a heated discussion the girls removed the hijab (and wearing just a face mask, in line with Covid protocols) and entered the school premises.

One man – who seemed to be the father of two girls – held out for a while, till the woman had an extended discussion with him (the conversation itself was unclear) and he relented, allowing his children to remove the hijabs and attend school.

Also, a Class 9 student at a government-run school in Udupi told NDTV there she and a classmate had both had to remove their hijabs to attend class.

Karnataka schools (up to Class 10) re-opened today amid controversy over the state barring Muslim students from wearing a hijab during classes. Classes 11 and 12 are closed till Wednesday.

Petitions against the ban are being argued in the High Court, which resumes its hearing at 2.30 pm.

Last week the court said schools and colleges could reopen (shut last week by the state “to maintain peace and harmony”) but no religious clothing, including hijabs, would be allowed.

Ahead of today’s classes, orders banning large gatherings were announced in several districts, including Udupi, Mangaluru and Shivamogga. Police have also taken out flag marches in a show of strength in several towns, including Udupi and Shivamogga.

Controversy over Muslim students barred from wearing the hijab began in December after six girls from Karnataka’s Udupi district voiced their concerns. They then approached the High Court.

Since then it has snowballed into a significant matter, with the Supreme Court also approached.

However, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said: “We will interfere only at an appropriate time.”

Protests have escalated rapidly over the past few weeks; last week a young student in Mandya was heckled by saffron-waving male aggressors shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and there were incidents of stone-throwing and police firing teargas to break up crowds.

Apart from triggering political debates (with communal overtones) in India, the row has also been flagged by international figures like Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and French footballer Paul Pogba.

With input from ANI

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