Siddaramaiah’s U-turn on hijab ban

After row over the change in law, Karnataka CM says matter is still at discussion stage
Image used for representational purposes. (Photo | EPS)
Image used for representational purposes. (Photo | EPS)

MYSURU : Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who declared on Friday that he had directed officials to lift the ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions, did a U-turn on Saturday stating that no such decision has been taken and the matter is still at the discussion stage.

His statement at Kavalande village in Mysuru district, where he inaugurated a police station, drew widespread criticism. BJP leaders, including former chief ministers BS Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai, and senior leader Basangouda Patil Yatnal came down heavily on Siddaramaiah soon after his statement.

Many Congress leaders also criticised Siddaramaiah stating that it was wrong on the part of the CM to make such a statement which would affect the party’s winning prospects in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Siddaramaiah refused to speak on the hijab issue during his visit to Mysuru on Saturday. However, when reporters pressed him for his response, he opened up stating that the matter was still at the discussion stage.

Siddaramaiah said, “We have not revoked the ban yet, I had to reply when somebody in the audience raised the issue during the function at Kavalande village on Friday. We are thinking about lifting the ban. We will discuss it at the government level before taking a final decision.”

Meanwhile, the BJP was unhappy with the CM’s U-turn. “Did any Muslim leader insist CM Siddaramaiah to withdraw the ban on hijab? He should stop doing this kind of political drama. He can’t satisfy Muslims by doing this. I strongly condemn Siddaramaiah’s statement,” said former chief minister BS Yediyurappa here on Saturday.

Replying to Siddaramaiah’s statement that his government is thinking of withdrawing the ban on wearing hijab in schools and colleges, Yediyurappa said the CM should refrain from taking such a decision. He said people from all religions and castes are equal for BJP. But Siddaramaiah is against this. The Congress government is trying to divert people’s attention as it has failed in implementing its five guarantee schemes, he alleged.

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly R Ashoka said the BJP will launch a struggle against the government over the issue. He alleged that Siddaramaiah has made it a habit to divide society for political gains. “Caste Census card failed. North-South card failed. Now Hijab is back! Having failed in Karnataka to deliver on guarantees and governance, CM is now trying to rake up the Hijab issue to hide his government’s shortcomings,” Ashoka posted on ‘X’.

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