Private colleges in Mangaluru have no bar on hijab

Managements of institutions will not want to sacrifice commercial interests, sources point out

Published: 11th February 2022 06:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th February 2022 06:27 AM   |  A+A-

Hijab-clad girls in a classroom of a college located at Talapady on the Kerala border, which is run by a VHP leader | EXPRESS

Express News Service

MANGALURU: Even as a debate rages over allowing students to wear the hijab in classrooms, several private and aided colleges in the communally sensitive Mangaluru, barring a few, have been allowing Muslim girls to wear the headscarf both on the campus and in classrooms.

A reality check by the TNIE revealed that many colleges, including those managed by the non-Muslims, not just allow wearing of the hijab, but also give them time to offer Friday prayers in nearby mosques by making slight changes in the timetable. Interestingly, some of these colleges are linked to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionaries. Sources said these leaders have not fully allowed their Hindutva ideology to creep into the corridors of education, mostly because education means business for them, just like the others.

Some of the institutions even have different rules for different colleges, depending on ‘local conditions’. A group of institutions comprising four colleges, of which a senior VHP-Bajrang Dal leader is the president, has strictly banned hijab at the PU College located in Kodialbail in Mangaluru city. But the headscarf is allowed in a degree college and at the Ayurveda Medical College, managed by the same group, and situated at Talapady on the Kerala border, which is mostly a Muslim-dominated area.

Pradeep Kumar Kalkura, treasurer of this group of institutions, admitted that they have banned hijab at their PU college, but not in Ayurveda Medical College. Asked why there are different rules for different colleges, he said, “The decision making is decentralised and respective principals take the call”.

Hijab-clad girls are also welcome in colleges owned by a former BJP minister in Konchady, and another linked to a RSS leader in Shaktinagar. The websites of all these colleges even have pictures showing hijab-clad girls. Apart from this, Milagres College, Vikas PU College, St Aloysius College, Shakti PU College, St Anne’s College and Sharada Ayurveda Medical College allow students to wear headscarves.

Unlike neighbouring Udupi district, the epicentre of the hijab controversy, the educational hub of Mangaluru has a significant Muslim population and the people from the Muslim-dominated Kasaragod are also dependent on Mangaluru for education. In this backdrop, sources in the field of education point out it will be extremely difficult for educational institutions to become unfriendly towards a community that has huge spending capacity.

Echoing similar views, Vidya Dinker, a rights activist, says there are two reasons for the interesting phenomenon of Mangaluru not being affected by the hijab row that has rocked Udupi. “It’s already polarised and Right-wing elements have enough cadres in the colleges in Mangaluru. So, they are not investing their time and resources in creating this bogey here. Secondly, private educational institutions in the district are just focused on commerce and they do not want to hurt their commercial interests by bringing up such things,” she felt.

UP Muslim group backs Mandya’s burqa-clad girl
Ayodhya, Bengaluru (ENS and Agencies): The Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) has backed the burqa-clad student of PES College, Mandya, who was heckled by a group of youths shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans, saying that the ‘purdah’ is part of Indian culture. A video of the girl, Bibi Muskan Khan, confronting the youngsters wearing saffron scarves has gone viral on social media.  ‘She (Khan) is the daughter and sister of our community, we stand with her at this time of crisis,” Anil Singh, Prant Sanchalak (Awadh) of the MRM told PTI. In a statement, Singh said, the country’s Constitution gives the girl the right to wear a hijab. The group of boys raising ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans and heckling her is not acceptable. 



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