Amid the ongoing Karnataka hijab controversy, some students were asked to sit in a separate room as they refused to appear for exams without wearing their headscarves in Shivmogga and Udupi cities of the state. Few students of Karnataka Public School in Nellihudikeri in Kodagu district staged a protest against the hijab ban. Parents who were standing outside the schools informed that the school administration also asked students to appear for exams without hijab.
Speaking to the media persons, Haseena, parent of a student said, “I’m not sending her to school after a ban on hijab in school. I have sent them to school for the past two days as they had preparatory exams for class 10. But some students were asked to sit in a separate room yesterday because they denied removing hijab.” “Nothing like this happened earlier. Till now, many from our family have studied in this school wearing hijab. Why is there a sudden change in rules,” she said.
A man whose niece is a student said, “I’ll bring my niece to school only after the court verdict. Education is important but hijab is most important to us”.
Abdul, another parent also stated that students who came wearing hijab, are being asked to sit in a separate room in the school. “Teachers have asked students not to wear hijab in school. They also had a meeting on the subject with parents yesterday. Today, they have been asked to sit in a separate room. I don’t understand why this has been created as such a big issue. Students have the right to study and appear for exams,” Abdul added.
“A meeting between parents and teachers is underway. The students (of Govt Urdu School, Pakirnagar) have not been made to sit in a separate room,” said Tehsildar, Kapu Taluk, Udupi district.
Meanwhile, Some students skipped exams as they were forced to enter the school premises without their traditional headscarves. “I will not remove the hijab. I used to attend school earlier with the hijab only. The School administration asked us to either remove the hijab or leave the place. They did not allow us to appear for exams wearing hijab,” Hina, a student told ANI. Sabrin, another student said, “I am leaving the school and skipping my exam because I was asked to remove my hijab.”
The Hijab protests in Karnataka began in January this year when some students of Government Girls PU college in the Udupi district of the state alleged that they had been barred from attending classes. During the protests, some students claimed they were denied entry into the college for wearing hijab.
Following this incident, students of different colleges arrived at Shanteshwar Education Trust in Vijayapura wearing saffron stoles. The situation was the same in several colleges in the Udupi district. The pre-University education board had released a circular stating that students can wear only the uniform approved by the school administration and no other religious practices will be allowed in colleges.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court also appealed to the student community and the public at large to maintain peace and tranquillity while hearing various pleas challenging a ban on hijab in the state. Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat, appearing for the petitioners, on Monday, told the Karnataka High Court that leaving it to the college committee to decide whether the hijab is allowed or not is totally illegal.