Karnataka: A controversy has erupted as Hindu organisations have warned of widespread protests in Karnataka in response to the state's ruling BJP government's decision to establish 10 new colleges exclusively for Muslim girls.
However, the government is pressing forward with its decision and has reportedly allocated a Rs 2.50 billion grant. According to reports, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai is also likely to lay down the foundation stone for the colleges this month.
The colleges are initially likely to be constructed in the Malnad and north Karnataka districts before subsequently expanding in other regions.
Karnataka Wakf Board chairman, Maulana Shafi Saadi said the Board made the recommendation for the exclusive colleges, and the decision was made after a significant number of Muslim females chose to stay at home because wearing a hijab is not permitted on college premises.
"The proposal was made to the Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani. The delegation was led by Karnataka Minister for Muzrai Shashikala Jolle and Kalaburagi MP Umesh Jadhav," he said.
Saadi further added, "The state government has consented to the proposal. I thank Minister Shashikala Jolle who took lead like a sister to ensure, Muslim girls are educated."
The development has stirred up a controversy in the state
However, the development has created a furore in the state. According to Mohan Gowda, the leader of the Hindu Jana Jagruthi Samithi, if colleges are being built for Muslim girls, then Hindu educational institutions ought to be established as well.
Maintaining that the decision is against the principles of secularism and the constitution, Gowda warned that "if the government does not revert it, protests would be launched".
Sri Rama Sena founder Pramod Muthalik has challenged the ruling state government against building the colleges, saying it won't be allowed in the state.
"We never thought BJP would indulge in appeasement of Muslims ahead of the Assembly elections. This is a divisive rule and the colleges are opened in the backdrop of the hijab crisis. This would make students develop a divisive mindset," Muthalik added
(With inputs from IANS)