MANGALURU/UDUPI: The controversy over college students wearing headscarves in classrooms seems to be escalating rather than seeing a resolution, with another government PU college in Udupi district denying entry to a group of girl students on Thursday.
This comes even as some students of a government PU College in Udupi city are fighting for their ‘constitutional right’ after they were denied entry into classrooms with headscarves. One of them have also moved the High Court over the issue.
On Thursday, a video went viral, which showed Ramakrishna, principal of the Government PU College at Kundapur, closing the gates on 28 hijab-clad students as they tried to enter the campus. The girls have been attending classes with headscarves for long.
‘Different govt colleges cannot have different rules’
Just a day earlier, more than 100 Hindu boys had turned up with saffron shawls to register their protest against Muslim girls wearing the hijab. Following this, local Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Halady Srinivas Shetty, who is also the college development committee president, convened a meeting and strictly told the college principal to stick to the college uniform.
While the girls strongly registered their protest, telling the principal that his ‘act to deny them education’ is wrong and will jeopadise their future as the exams are just two months away, the principal maintained that he was only implementing the MLA’s directives. Meanwhile, the issue has taken a political turn and with different political parties indulging in mud-slinging over the matter.
The hijab controversy is nothing new to the region where a majority of Muslim women prefer to cover their heads while stepping out of home. A few years ago, the century-old St Agnes College in Mangaluru, a women’s college, had faced protests over a hijab ban, but the issue was amicably resolved. But this time, the controversy got thicker as ruling party MLAs got actively involved in it.
Udupi district in-charge minister S Angara told reporters on Thursday that a high-powered committee, formed to look into the issue, is expected to submit its report soon. Different government colleges cannot have different rules, he stressed.
In the light of the developments, there is a fear that many poor Muslim families may not send their daughters to government colleges. Reacting to the issue, Congress leader and former minister UT Khader noted that since his daughter refused to give up the hijab, he had to send her to a Muslim-run private college, highlighting the predicament of the community.