Second year PU exam starts amid tight security in Karnataka

Students from Udupi who had approached the HC challenging the hijab ban return home as they were not allowed to write the exam wearing hijab

Bengaluru: The second-year pre-university examinations started in Karnataka on Friday amid tight security and in the shadow of the hijab row.

Over 6.84 lakh students will write the exam at 1,076 centres across the state. The exams will go on till May 18.

As there is a ban on hijab or any cloth linked to religious identity, the authorities made arrangements at exam centres for the Muslim girls to remove their head scarves before entering the exam halls.

Muslim girls who turned up at the examination wearing hijab said they will remove it inside the separate enclosure and will wear it again after the exam is over.

"Hijab is important and so is writing and passing the exam. Our future depends on our exam results," a Muslim girl student told reporters in Bengaluru.

Two pre-university college students from Udupi who had approached the Karnataka High Court challenging the ban on hijab, returned from the exam centre on Friday as they were not allowed to write the exam wearing hijab.

The two girls-Alia and Resham- arrived in an auto-rickshaw at the exam centre wearing burqa. They insisted that they should be allowed to write the exam wearing hijab but the college authorities citing the High Court order denied them entry. Subsequently, the girls returned home.

The Karnataka High Court had last month upheld the order of the state government banning wearing clothes which disturb equality, integrity and public order in schools and colleges, which a section of Muslim girls had challenged in the court.

Elaborate security arrangements were made at the exam centres preventing any congregation of people to create any ruckus.

Also, the photocopy centres were banned around the exam centres to prevent any exam malpractices as is the use of loudspeakers.

According to Education department officials, there are 6,00,519 regular students, 61,808 repeaters and 21,928 private candidates who have enrolled this year for exam.

The state government made provision for students to travel to and from their nearest bus stop to the exam centre free of cost in Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses.

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