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No Fear No Favour

Hijab Row: Girls wearing Hijab not given an entry in Kerala’s College, Where are we actually going?

Written By: Aashish Vashistha

Girls wearing hijab protesting outside the College gate, when not given entry.

India has a longest written constitution which provides its citizens Liberty, Justice, Fraternity and Equality. Our constitution consists lots of ‘articles’ which provides us our fundamental rights. We do have Right to Freedom of Expresson, and this right extends to the right to wear anything as long as it is not disruptive, vulgar and does not affect anybody’s sanctity. Also, wearing clothes or more accurately, choosing which clothes to wear- is- for many people, an important part of expression, as also confirmed under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Hindu Boys wearing saffron shawl protested on Wednesday against Muslim girls wearing hijab. Pic Credit: (Twitter)

On Wednesday, the College had witnessed a brutal situation when around 100 Hindu boys came to classes wearing saffron shawls to protest against the girls’ who were wearing hijabs inside classrooms. But after their video went viral on social media which outraged many people, however, they did not repeat their protest on Thursday.After both videos went viral on internet, the state Fisheries Minister and Udupi district-in-charge S Angara told reporters in Udupi that this status quo ordered by the state government, not allowing students to wear hijabs, will continue till the committee appointed to study the issue submits its report. He further added, “Everyone has to follow the prescribed dress code in educational institutions. Different institutions cannot have different dress codes.”

Picture from Kundapur college where the Principal denied entry to students wearing Hijab (Headscarf)

According to a report by Press Trust of India (PTI), as many as 27 Muslim girls were denied entry to the college for wearing hijab on Thursday, even though the Karnataka government has not issued any uniform code for pre-university colleges.The question is, If there was no official dress code then Why these students denied entry from taking classes? Is this how we will improve our education system? When most of our educational institutions would be rooted in religious indifferences, then how can we turn the vision of “Education For All” into the reality. This is at the time when there will be exams after two months. Among all these students, one student who was standing at the gates of the government pre-university pleaded , “We have exams in two months. Why are you ruining our future? You should have made these rules earlier.”

College authorities could be seen convincing the protestors for not allowing entry to them in Kundapur college.

For your information, this is the fifth incident of religious intolerance in educational institution since December 28, last year in Kerala. Now this matter has reached the courts. A Muslim student on Monday filed a writ petition in Karnataka high court (HC) challenging the decision of the Government Pre-University College in Udupi to bar six students from attending classes for wearing hijab. The petition was filed by one of the six students through a lawyer. In the petition, the student argued that wearing a hijab is a fundamental right guaranteed under Articles 14 and 25 of the Constitution of India and is essential for practising her religion. This petition is scheduled for hearing on February 8.

Pic Credit: Reuters.

Everyone has their own views on this incident but the thing is, if these indifferences going on like this, this will only affect the education system of our country in a very deplorable way. Already Education system is facing a crisis in the pandemic where there are schools and colleges closed for a very long time.At this time when unemployment among youths is one of the major problems and should be addressed by government and private educational institutions, these indifferences will only create problem for youngsters in getting jobs and what they wanted to achieve. It is high time and an alarming sign for us to understand that we need to change our mindset and should stand above any religious indifferences when it comes to providing education before it is too late.

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