Hijab controversy: Students at Udupi government university continue to skip class

While many students removed their hijabs and attended classes, around 40 of them insisted on being allowed to wear hijabs inside classrooms on February 16.

While many students removed their hijabs and attended classes, around 40 of them insisted on being allowed to wear hijabs inside classrooms on February 16.

About 40 students at G. Shankar Government First Grade College in Udupi stayed away from classes for the second day in a row after management refused to allow head covering (hijab) to be worn in classrooms.

They were among the girls who were asked by the management on February 16 to remove the hijab and enter the classroom, in accordance with the interim order of the Karnataka High Court. The court had asked students to comply with the dress code when entering educational institutions.

While many students removed their hijabs and attended classes, around 40 of them insisted on being allowed to wear hijabs inside classrooms on February 16. After a meeting with Principal TG Bhaskar Shetty, they returned home.

After Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s statement that the interim order applied to institutions that had a dress code and also CN Higher Education Minister Ashwath Narayan that a dress code does not apply to university colleges , these students came to college on February 17 wearing the hijab. Some were accompanied by their parents.

However, the principal told them to attend classes in accordance with the college dress code followed since 2009. He however stated that they were free to wear hijab on campus. The students said they would not attend classes until the High Court’s final decision and then asked Mr Shetty to arrange online classes for them. He assured to make the arrangement from February 18.

Mohammed Hanif, father of a first-year BA student, said the college should respect the feelings of students for whom religious standards and studies were equally important.

At the Government PU College for Girls in Udupi, students including Muslim girls attended classes as per the interim order without wearing hijab in the classrooms.

Udupi, deputy head of PU department, Maruti, said that practical exams for 2nd PU students, which were postponed for technical reasons on February 17, will start on February 18. The department has asked colleges to complete practical exams by March 25.

HJV request

Hindu Jagaran Vedike reiterated his demand for an investigation into the organizations that supported the students and aggravated the hijab issue.

Radhakrishna Adhyantaya, a member of HJV Mangaluru Pranta Karyakarani, told reporters on February 17 that he suspected the involvement of extremist forces in escalating the problem. “The government must take this seriously and take effective action against the forces involved in escalating the hijab issue,” he said.

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