BENGALURU: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress were engaged in a political slugfest over the ongoing hijab row that has spread to more colleges in coastal Karnataka. The Congress said not allowing Muslim girls from attending classes is a violation of fundamental rights. The
BJP hit back by accusing the Congress of politicising the issue to appease the minority community.
Opposition leader in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah, said it is inhuman to stop girls from attending classes and an attempt to deny education to Muslim girls. “What is the problem if they wear hijab? How can an MLA direct the college to make uniforms mandatory when the government has not made uniforms mandatory for PU students?” he thundered.
Congress MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan termed it as a conspiracy by the ruling party to divide communities. State Congress president D K Shivakumar said it is not right for him to comment when the issue has been taken to court. The BJP leaders accused Congress of politicising the issue. Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh said Siddaramaiah is misleading people for the sake of votes as uniform rules were framed during his tenure as CM. Nagesh said children and parents had agreed to follow uniform rules and of the 95 students, only six were wearing hijab. He said eight countries have banned the hijab, but they are not against practising religious customs, he said.
Kannada and Culture Minister V Sunil Kumar said they will not allow Karnataka to become another Taliban state. He said they cannot make exceptions for students from one religion. “A section of students, who say they are unable to pay fees, have gone to court. It is very clear that some vested interests are trying to disturb harmony on campuses,” he said. He also alleged that people in Kashmir reacting to it shows that it is a big network and the State Government will not allow it to escalate further.
Meanwhile, RDPR Minister KS Eshwarappa said, “Hindus and Muslims are like brothers and sisters. If the students are differentiated based on their religion in institutions, it might affect their sentiments. Children go to schools and colleges for education. Why is religion being dragged into it?”