The Karnataka High Court order upholding the state government’s ban on hijab in classrooms has left Muslim girl students in a quandary as its implementation begins in schools and colleges of the state. As some decide to drop out or change schools, a student at the government-run MGM College in Udupi told NDTV about her experience when she decided to take off her headscarf.
“I don’t have a choice. I want my education,” Sana Kauser, who has been wearing a head scarf for three years, told NDTV. “When I sat next to my classmates without a hijab, a Hindu student walked up to me and said ‘you are one of us’,” added the first year student of computer science.
Until the High Court order, students were allowed to wear hijab in the classrooms. Now they have been given a space to take off the hijab before classes begin.
Many students have decided to drop out, said Sana. “I heard five or six final year students have taken transfer certificates… many students have opted to stay at home,” she said.
For students refusing to drop the hijab, the Vice-President of the Udupi Girl’s Government College, who is also a BJP leader, made a shocking statement.
“They are not students. They are agents of terrorist organization,” said Yashpal Suvarna. “If they don’t respect the Indian judiciary, they can walk out from India. They can settle where they are allowed to wear the hijab,” he added.
In its order, the High Court said the headscarf is not an essential part of Islam, dismissing the contention that hijab has protection under Article 25 of the Constitution made by students who had challenged the state government order.
The court also spoke in favour of the idea of homogeneity, which has been opposed by many in the Muslim community, who have questioned why any court should take up the role of the clergy.
Questioning why a court should decide on what is an essential practice in any religion, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi yesterday told NDTV, “If you look at the Constitution, pluralism and diversity are the basic structures of the Constitution. Homogeneity is not”.
The court’s examples if homogeneity — a gurukul, prison or an army camp — cannot be equated to schools, he said. He also argued against the need to bring homogeneity in schools through uniforms, pointing out that many nations do not have uniforms in school.