Showing no signs of abating, hijab row in Karnataka has spread to more colleges as girl students wearing hijab or burqa were stopped at the entrance of the Bhandarkars' College of Kundapur in Udupi district of the state on Thursday morning.
The girl students who came to the college wearing burqa or hijab were stopped at the entrance by the Principal of Bhandrakars' College. The Principal told students that as per the government order and college guidelines they will have to come in uniform to the classes.
The girl students argued that they have been coming to the college in hijab for a long time and they must be permitted. But the entry was denied.
The administration of Bhandrakars' College on Wednesday had also denied permission to students who came to classes in saffron shawls. These groups of students were also stopped at the entrance. The students raised slogans of 'Jai Shri Ram' after which a tense situation prevailed in the campus.
Meanwhile, Araga Jnanendra, Karnataka Home Minister stated that the directions have already been given to the police department to take up the investigation on communal forces behind the hijab row in the state. "The investigation is underway. We will not spare the elements which come in the way of unity of this country," he stated.
"Naqab, burqa, hijab, saffron or green shawls are not allowed in the classrooms. The minister for Education has already stated that uniforms are compulsory. There should not be any divisive factors in the academic environment. There are mosques, churches and temples for religious practices," the Home Minister explained. "With these developments, the etiquette of integrity is being challenged," he said.
S. Angara, the District In-Charge Minister of Udupi, reacting to Bhandarkar college incident said that he has just taken charge of the district. "There will be one rule for all schools and colleges. I will discuss the matter with the District Commissioner. The matter will also be discussed with the Education Minister and the Chief Minister. Once I get the details, I will take action," he stated.
Hijab row which has been confined to one college in Udupi has now spread to more colleges in Karnataka causing concern in the department of Education as well as parents and student community. The development is also taking a communal turn threatening the academic atmosphere of the state.
The state government has set up a high level committee to decide whether to allow hijab wearing students in classrooms. Until the report is submitted, the government has asked students to attend classes in uniform without wearing hijab. However, Muslim students, defying the order, tried to attend classes wearing hijab in the Government Girl's Pre-University College of Udupi. They were sent back.
Meanwhile, Hindu organisations have said that if Muslim students come in hijab, Hindu students will flaunt saffron shawls. Campus Front of India (CFI), the student wing of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) is holding seminars on how the ruling BJP is bulldozing constitutional rights of Muslim women by not allowing them to wear hijab.