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Hijab banned in minority institutions too, Karnataka govt adds new rule

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The Karnataka government on Thursday (February 17) banned wearing of hijab, saffron scarves or other religious symbols even in minority-run educational institutions which run with state government support.

Secretary for Minority Welfare, Haj and Wakf Department Major P Manivannan in a circular stated that the interim order of the full bench of the High Court also applies to residential schools run under the Minority Welfare Department and Moulana Azad Model Schools (English medium).

All educational institutions run by the Minority Welfare Department have been ordered not to allow hijab, scarves, saffron shawls and other religious symbols in the classrooms.

“We request the state government and all their stakeholders to reopen educational institutions and allow the students to return to the classes at the earliest. Pending consideration of all these petitions, we restrain all the students regardless of their religion or faith from wearing saffron shawls (Bhagwa), scarfs, hijab, religious flags or the like within the classroom, until further orders,” the circular said.

“We make it very clear that this order is confined to such institutions wherein the college Development Committees have prescribed the student dress/uniform.”

The circular was issued after girl students in a number of colleges continued to protest demanding their right to wear hijab to class.

Over 60 Muslim students of Dr G Shankar Government First Grade College, Udupi, returned home after the college did not allow hijab inside classroom.

A special bench of the Karnataka High Court is hearing petitions by students who are demanding that they be allowed to wear hijab while attending classes as before. The court had in an interim order disallowed wearing any religious symbols in educational institutions, including hijab, saffron scarves, etc.

A ban on wearing hijab had come into force after six students of Government PU College, Udupi, were not allowed to wear hijab to college, triggering a widespread protest across the state.

Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh however said the hijab protest is present only in eight high schools and pre-university colleges of the total 75,000.

“We will resolve this. We are happy that all the students have followed our order,” he said.

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