Muslim girl students of the government pre-university college at Kundapur in Udupi district, who reached the institution wearing ‘hijab’ (headscarf) were stopped at the gate by the college principal on Thursday.
The principal informed the students that they are not allowed to wear hijab inside the classrooms and asked them to remove the head dress and enter classes. "They were not wearing the hijab earlier & this problem started only 20 days ago," State Education Minister BC Nagesh has said.
The students argued with the principal and told him that the government order on status quo has not mentioned the Kundapur college. The principal told them that the circular issued by the government applies throughout the state.
The college had witnessed a grave situation on Wednesday when around 100 Hindu boys came to classes wearing saffron shawls to protest against the girls’ wearing hijabs inside classrooms. They, however, did not repeat their protest on Thursday.
A meeting called by Kundapur MLA Halady Srinivas Shetty with the Muslim girls and their parents had failed to reach a consensus on Wednesday, with the parents insisting that their children had the right to wear hijabs.
Meanwhile, state Fisheries Minister and Udupi district-in-charge S Angara told reporters in Udupi that the status quo ordered by the state government disallowing hijabs inside classrooms will continue till the committee appointed to study the issue submits its report. “Everyone has to follow the prescribed dress code in educational institutions. Different institutions cannot have different dress codes,” he said.
A student says, "Hijab is part of our life. Our seniors studied in the same college wearing hijab. How did all of a sudden this new rule come into force? What is the problem if we wear hijab? There were no issues until recently."