Hijab-Clad Girls Banned From Entering Classroom in India's Karnataka
12:34 GMT 02.01.2022 (Updated: 10:41 GMT 19.07.2022)
In a similar incident in 2017, a medical officer from Maharashtra was barred from entering a classroom wearing a hijab (headscarf). She was exonerated by India's supreme court which ruled that Muslim women cannot be denied their religious right to wear the hijab.
A college in the Udupi district of the Indian state of Karnataka refused to let six Muslim girls enter their classroom this week after they arrived wearing a hijab.
A 72-second-video, posted by the girls in the state's local Kannada language, showed them standing outside the classroom for three days in protest. They were also forbidden to speak Urdu, Arabic or Byari - three languages spoken by Muslim communities in the state.
"Everything was fine before we started wearing the hijab, but now we are being discriminated against in this manner and not allowed inside the classroom," said another pupil.
Members of the Islamic Organisation of India on Saturday approached District Collector Kurma Rao concerning the incident and urged the latter to intervene in the matter.
"Students can wear the hijab on the school premises, but not inside the classrooms. The rule is being followed to ensure uniformity in classrooms," college principal Rudra Gowda told the Indian news agency Press Trust of India (PTI).
The Social Democratic Party of India's representative in (SDPI) Udupi, Nazeer Ahmed, said they would protest if the six pupils were not allowed to return to classes wearing their hijabs.
In 2019, the Bombay High Court, in its verdict acquitting Muslim girl, Fakeha, in her 16-month long legal battle, allowed her to wear the hijab in the classroom after she was forbidden by college authorities to attend classes and take exams.
The division bench of the Bombay high court comprising Justice RM Savant and Justice Sarang Kotwal ordered the college to allow her to attend lectures with her hijab on and complete her education.