BY AKHLAD KHAN @BawaNaaved
Amidst the ongoing heated protests in Karnataka by the female Muslim students, who are protesting for their right to attend classes wearing the hijab, a group of Hindu students again marched to their college wearing saffron coloured scarves. Videos from Kundapur area in the Udupi district of Karnataka state in India show boys and girls wearing the saffron scarves over their college uniforms and raising religious slogans of “Jai Shri Ram” (praise Lord Ram) while going to college. The protests have made national headlines and also triggered political debates, with the national political parties Congress and BJP attacking each other over the issue.
As the hijab controversy intensifies in Karnataka with the state government issuing a ban on clothes in schools that may “disturb harmony”, a Congress legislator has said Muslim women are ready for a change in the colour of the headscarf to match it with the uniform, but they cannot abandon entirely.
Member of Legislative Assembly Kaneez Fatima, who led a protest on Saturday over the issue that recently erupted after some Muslim girls in hijab were denied entry into a government college in Udupi, said to the Assembly that she too wears the hijab and dared the government from stopping her to do so.
“Till now, everyone was wearing it. It’s too late now. Why are they suddenly stopping us? Burkha is nothing new,” she added.
Earlier in the day, the state education department issued an order stating all state run schools should follow the uniform as stipulated by the state government, while students of private institutions would have to adhere to the dress code decided by the school’s management. Clothes which disturb equality, integrity and public order will be banned, it said.
Coming to the forefront in solidarity with the Muslim students protesting their right to practice their religious and fundamental rights, Salman Hassan Khan (Salman Mia), the Vice President of ‘Jamaat Raza-e-Mustafa’, the most prominent and oldest (nearly 150 years old) Muslim organization, based in Bareilly Of Uttar Pradesh , said that efforts are being made to create a communal atmosphere in the country and on the other hand the slogan of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas (Togetherness and development of all) is being given by the Modi led BJP Government, is this the way towards development in the field of education? The prominent cleric Salman Hassan Khan has demanded from the Karnataka government to identify the conspirators behind the issue being created over the hijab, and to take strict action against them so that no other hate monger can repeat such a commotion in the future.
“Article 25 to 28 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the fundamental rights to freedom of religion. India has been secular since ancient times; here the followers of all religions are to be treated equally, which means that the state has to be completely neutral in the matter of beliefs. The governing body shouldn’t be radicalized and the state must respect all denominations. The state is responsible to provide equal protection to the people of whatever religion exists; it shouldn’t interfere in any religious practice. In Karnataka, the Muslim students wearing hijab are being barred from going to school. This is completely unconstitutional. Our constitution gives freedom to every citizen to follow his religion. The inhumane behaviour of the school authorities is highly condemnable,” says Salman Hassan Khan the vice-president of ‘Jamat Raza e Mustafa’.
“Muslim women in Islam basically have been advised to cover them in a way so they can be recognized, “O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them. That will be better, so that they may be recognised & not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran 33:59). Wearing hijab has been made obligatory by Allah and is one of the principles of Islam, no one can snatch this right from Muslim women” Salman Hassan Khan adds.
Hitting out against the organizations behind the controversy, Salman Hassan Khan further says that sick, radicalized people are behind the issue being created in Karnataka. “I will send my delegates to the Chief Minister in Karnataka if the issue continues further. The conspirators behind the scene should be found out because a politics of hate is being played out which is fueling hatred in the society. They have pushed the children of the other religion to wear saffron scarves to protest against the Muslim girls seeking justice to practice their rights. This will ruin the communal harmony. This must be stopped immediately and peace should prevail with justice”.
After the huge demonstrations that broke out on the streets of Karnataka, and the support extended by the prominent Muslim scholars and politicians. An apartheid decision by the school authorities come to fore. The Students wearing hijab were allowed entry into the campus of Government PU College in Karnataka but they will be seated in separate classrooms. The students segregated according to their dressing in India.