BANNED: Girls wearing hijab were barred from entering the pre-university college in Kundapur in Karnataka.

By Scroll Staff

Rahul Gandhi, addressing a public meeting in Karnataka, took strong objection to denying entry to schools and colleges to Muslim girls wearing hijab. Rahul Gandhi stressed that Goddess of Learning Saraswati does not discriminate in bestowing knowledge

At least three colleges in Karnataka have stopped students wearing headscarves from attending classes.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said that the future of Indian daughters was being robbed and that deity Saraswati did not discriminate in giving knowledge. The remark came on Saraswati Puja, celebrated in honour of the deity, amid a controversy over hijab-wearing students not being allowed to attend classes at a Karnataka college.
“By letting students’ hijab come in the way of their education, we are robbing the future of the daughters of India,” Gandhi tweeted. “Ma [mother] Saraswati gives knowledge to all. She doesn’t differentiate.”
Congress leader Siddaramaiah said the Indian Constitution gives the right to practice religion, which means one can wear clothes as per their religion. He said prohibiting students wearing the hijab from entering schools is a violation of their fundamental rights.
The Karnataka Chief Minister criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for trying to disrupt communal harmony in the state by using the hijab.
He also urged Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to arrest those instigating people. Tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Siddaramaiah pointed out that he speaks about “Beti Bachao, Beti Padao” and wondered if he is aware of such incidents.
Later in the day, Bharatiya Janata Party Karnataka President Nalin Kumar Kateel claimed that the state government will not allow the “Talibanisation” of the education system, PTI reported. He said schools are the “temples of Saraswati”.
Kateel said “bringing religion to educational institutions” is not right and that there is “no scope for such things [wearing hijabs in class]”. “Our government will take stringent action,” Kateel declared.
Vijayapura BJP legislator Basanagouda Patil Yatnal claimed some people were “intentionally” demanding permission to wear the hijab in class.
“Once that demand is fulfilled, they will seek permission to wear burqa and then to construct mosque inside the school,” he said, according to PTI. Yatnal also claimed that “anti-national” elements were involved in disturbing peace in Karnataka.
When asked about Ganesh being worshipped and people sporting vermillion on the their foreheads entering education institutions, Yatnal said “this is India”. “…Our country is founded on Indian culture,” he was quoted as saying. He alleged that “they” had already been given Pakistan on the basis of religion to “wear hijab”, according to PTI.

Hijab row
On Friday, about 40 female students protested outside the gates of the Bhandarkar’s Arts and Science Degree College in Kundapur town, Udupi district, after being denied entry unless they took off their headscarves. About 40 Muslim male students also sat outside the college to express solidarity with their classmates.
This came a day after a government pre-university college in the same town had barred students wearing hijabs from attending classes.
A month ago, students at the Government Women’s Pre-University College in Udupi had also protested after the college did not allow them to attend classes while wearing hijabs.
While the Karnataka High Court will on February 8 hear petitions by five girls of Udupi’s Government Pre-University College on restricting the hijab, the state government on Friday said “existing uniform rules” must continue until the verdict, The Times of India reported.
At a meeting on Friday, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai along with primary and secondary education minister BV Nagesh discussed the state’s stance in the High Court with the advocate general.
Nagesh alleged the role of “hidden hands” in making the incidents reach the international media, PTI reported. Nagesh claimed it was part of a propaganda by those “against the country”.
On Monday, Udupi MLA K Raghupati Bhat had said that students did not need to attend class if they wore headscarves.

Coutersy: The Scroll

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