A faculty member talks with the students wearing hijab, after the school authorities denied them entry for wearing a hijab or scarf, in Kundapura of Udupi district. (Photo: PTI/File)
Udupi: Amid the ongoing controversy over wearing hijab to college, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday has asked all concerned to keep the peace and let children study.
While speaking to ANI, Bommai said, "All the concerned people should keep the peace and let children study. The matter will be presented in High Court today, let's wait for it."
Meanwhile, Muslim students of the college questioned if the right to education under 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' is not for them.
Claiming that they have been wearing the hijab from the beginning of their college years, a student said, "They talk about 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao', are they (Hindus) the only betis? Aren't we the betis? We are the daughters of the country. Why suddenly does the government have a problem with hijab? I have been wearing it for three years here now, why is it a problem now?"
Another student said that students with saffron stoles were protesting against Muslim girls.
"They want us thrown away from the college, that is what they are doing this. Why should we have to choose? We have the right to education and the right to practice our religion," she said.
Another student of the college questioned why the hijab is suddenly an issue.
"Why are they implementing such rules now when the college is about to end in two months? We were allowed to wear the hijab when we first joined college. Why is it an issue now?"
"We are not going to leave Hijab, and we are not going to leave education. It is 75 years since we got freedom and still, we are not free. This is a part of the uniform," she added.
Commenting on the saffron versus the hijab row, the students said, "We never asked them not to wear saffron; they are free to wear it. But it is not compulsory for them...it (hijab) is mandatory for us. We have been wearing it since childhood."
Protests have erupted at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College in Udupi as students wearing hijab and another group of students wearing saffron stoles-headgears raise slogans on the college campus.
Notably, Karnataka State Primary and High School Education Minister BC Nagesh recently said that the students wearing hijab in Kundapura were allowed to enter college premises as a "courtesy" while maintaining that complying with uniform code is a must.
The minister made it clear that the students will need to follow the rules. "Ours is not a Pakistani culture. It is Indian culture. These girls aren't aware of the school norms and customs, and they will understand later," Nagesh told media persons.
The Karnataka High Court will hear petitions filed by five women from a government pre-university college in Udupi, questioning Hijab restrictions.
The Hijab protests began on February 4 at the Government Girls PU college in Udupi district when some students alleged that they had been barred from attending classes.
The pre-University education board had released a circular stating that the students can only wear the uniform approved by the school administration and no other religious practices will be allowed in colleges.