Amit Shah on hijab row: ‘Students should follow dress code of schools/colleges’
Home Minister Amit Shah said on Monday (February 21) that students of all faiths should follow the dress code prescribed by the schools and colleges.
Responding to the hijab controversy that is raging across Karnataka, Shah told CNN News18 that inside an educational institute, students should keep their religious identities aside. “I personally feel every student should follow the mandated uniform, irrespective of religion,” Shah said.
Shah said we need to decide if the country will function “on the Constitution or whims”. Shah said while he has a personal belief in the matter he will accept the decision by the courts and expressed hope that everyone will accept the court’s decision.
The Home Minister said that the Opposition is trying to politicise the issue, but they won’t succeed.
On the alleged involvement of Campus Front of India in the controversy, Shah said the organisation may be actively involved in stoking the controversy, but their “intentions will not come to fruition”, he added.
A controversy broke out in December last year when the managements of two government educational institutions barred girl students wearing hijab from attending classes. The students had been wearing the hijab for at least two years with no problems. Once the managements barred them from classes and the BJP state government backed the ban, the controversy spread.
On January 1, six girl students of a college in Udupi attended a press conference held by Campus Front of India (CFI) in the coastal town protesting against the college authorities denying them entry into the classroom by wearing hijab.
This was four days after they had requested the principal permission to wear hijabs in classes which was not allowed. Till then, students used to wear hijab to the campus and entered the classroom after removing the scarves, the college principal Rudre Gowda had said.
In the SJVP College at Harihar in Davangere district, girls wearing hijab were denied entry. The pupils refused to go inside without the scarf, stressing that it was as important as education and they cannot give up their right.
In Vijay Paramedical College in Belagavi district, students complained to the reporters that a holiday was announced by the institution for an indefinite period due to the hijab issue.
“We will not sit without headscarves. Let the college realise how it affects our education. The principal is not listening to us,” a student told the media.
In Ballari, a group of girls were not allowed inside the Sarala Devi College, which has been witnessing protests from the day the controversy erupted and the government had ordered that no one should wear clothes that could disturb peace, harmony and, law and order.
The government college at Gangavathi in Koppal district too faced a similar situation where girls were not allowed inside the college.
The controversy received fresh impetus on February 19 when girls in many parts of Karnataka were denied entry in schools and colleges as they arrived in hijabs despite the Karnataka High Court passing an interim order telling students not to wear any religious head gear. A total of 15 Muslim girls were booked in Tumakuru and 58 students were suspended in Shivamogga for staging demonstrations outside their colleges.