Hundreds of women attended a conference organised by the Campus Front of India (CFI) in support of wearing hijab in educational institutions in Dakshina Kannada district’s Mangaluru on Saturday.
The agitators raised slogans “Inquilab Zindabad” and “Hijab is our right” and also ridiculed Udupi BJP MLA Raghupathi Bhat for his remarks against the hijab through a skit.
Though the conference was held, the CFI was denied permission for a rally planned from Jyothi Circle to Town Hall in the city, Mangaluru commissioner N Shashi Kumar said.
The six students of Udupi Womens’ Pre-University College, who started the protest seeking to wear the hijab in Karnataka, spoke at the conference.
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CFI State Committee Member Fathima Usman stated that Muslim girl students are being persecuted through restrictions on hijab.
“We are children of Tipu Sultan and followers of Dr BR Ambedkar,” she claimed. The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday had agreed to list the petitions over the issue of wearing the hijab in classrooms next week.
The petitioners have made an appeal against the order of the Karnataka High Court Special Bench, which dismissed pleas seeking a directive to permit wearing of hijabs in classrooms in March this year.
A bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli took note of the submissions by Prashant Bhushan that the matter was filed long back but is yet to be listed for hearing.
The Special Bench also stated that wearing of hijab is not an essential practice of Islam. The Karnataka government has banned any religious symbols in the classrooms and given the discretion to college administrations to frame the rules.
Colleges shutting out girls wearing the hijab is not a new development in coastal Karnataka. There have been protests over the issue in SVS College in Bantwal, Ramakunjeshwara College in Uppinangady, and St Aloysius College in Mangaluru, among others, in the last 15 years.
But this year, the controversy which erupted in Udupi received widespread attention and became a topic of discussion in national and international news channels in January and February. The protests intensified following a saffron shawl protest held by Hindu students opposed to their Muslim classmates wearing the hijab.