“Who Are These Netas (BJP MLA from Vijayapura Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel & Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj K. S. Eshwarappa) to Tell Students To Go To Pakistan & Wearing Hijab is Talibanisation of Education”- Siraj Jafferi-the State General Secretary of Kalaburagi-based Karnataka Muslim Political Forum, during a press meet held at Press Club, Mangaluru. (For the complete statements made by Siraj, please check on the Video posted below)
Mangaluru: While the Karnataka state has shut high schools and colleges for three days after a row over the hijab, a decision taken by CM and the government after protests by students over Muslim women wearing headscarves in the classroom escalated into violence. The tense situation on February 8 had forced three colleges in the belt, two in Udupi and one in Dakshina Kannada, to declare a holiday even before the government’s holiday announcement. On Wednesday, the state’s high court, which was hearing two petitions filed on behalf of some of the Muslim women, requested the chief justice to set up a larger bench to deliberate the matter. The developments occurred after protests by six teenage students at a government-run college over wearing hijabs spread to other colleges. On Tuesday, viral videos showed a young Muslim woman being heckled by a mob of young men shouting slogans and heated arguments between students wearing hijabs and saffron shawls.
How did the row begin? The issue began gaining attention when six teenage students at a government-run pre-university college – equivalent to a high school – in Karnataka’s Udupi district began protesting over being barred from classes for wearing the hijab. The college said it allowed students to wear the hijab on campus and only asked them to take it off inside the classroom. But the protesters – who all wear the mandatory college uniform – argued they should also be allowed to cover their hair in the classroom. However, demands from organisations for and against wearing hijab and saffron shawls continued in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi on 9 February.
During a press meet held at Mangaluru Press Club on Wednesday, 9 February, Siraj Jafferi-the the State General Secretary of the Kalaburagi-based Karnataka Muslim Political Forum and also representing the Yadgir-based Rashtriya Satyavadi Manava Hakku Sanghatane said, “We will meet the Director-General and Inspector General of Police Praveen Sood in Bengaluru on 10 February to file a complaint against three BJP leaders holding constitutional positions for ‘making provocative statements’ over the hijab issue”.
Siraj further said, “The complaint will be filed against BJP MLA from Vijayapura Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, Member of Parliament from Dakshina Kannada Nalin Kumar Kateel and Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj K. S. Eshwarappa. The two organisations will ask the police to book them under Section 155 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). We strongly accuse these senseless leaders of making statements that if students want to wear hijab, they should go to Pakistan and wearing hijab is like Talibanisation of education. It is not proper to compare wearing hijab with wearing saffron shawls. Wearing a hijab is a religious right of Muslim women. Asking Muslim women not to wear hijab is an attempt to curtail their educational rights”.
“It should be noted that the admission guidelines for 2021-22 issued by the Department of Pre University Education have clearly mentioned that wearing a uniform is not mandatory for pre-university students. It said that some principals of colleges and college management committees have made wearing uniforms mandatory, which is against the rules. An order issued by the government (pre-university education) on 5 February 2022 said that students in government schools should wear the uniform prescribed by the government, and in private schools, students should sport the uniform prescribed by the school managing committee. The same order said that the uniform prescribed by the college development committees or the supervisory committees of the college administrative boards should be worn in pre-university colleges. In case a uniform is not prescribed, students should wear dresses that facilitate maintaining equality and integrity without disturbing public order. The contents in the latest order and the guidelines issued earlier are contradictory, and our two organisations will fight against the opposition to wearing hijab legally,” added Siraj Jafferi.
Siraj also said, “It’s not unusual to see women wearing hijabs and burkas (the full Islamic veil) in India, where public displays of symbols of faith are common. But the college principal said it was necessary for the teacher to see the student’s face and the uniform helped them ensure there was no discrimination among students. We also condemn the incident In Mandya district, where a viral video showed a young woman wearing a hijab being approached by a mob of men with saffron shawls. As they yelled Jai Shri Ram (hail Lord Ram) repeatedly, she stood her ground, shouting “Allahu Akbar ” (God is great) as college authorities escorted her away. The students are being instigated to protest by “miscreants” supported by the politicians of the ruling government. Even if the Muslim women (students) who have approached the Court seeking justice, even if they win or lose in the Court verdict, we will still fight until justice is served, and no one has the right to rule on us just because we are minorities- we are strictly following our faith and rules”.
Members of the Forum – Mohammed Hussain, Sayed Fayauddin, and Muhassin Jamail were also present during the press meet.