India: 58 girls suspended from college for wearing Hijab, hold protest

The issue shows no signs of abating after its flare-up about a fortnight ago that prompted the government to close down colleges and institutions for a couple of days



Students and supporters sit in front of the office of the deputy commissioner as a sign of protest in Shivamogga district in India’s Karnataka state on February 17, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
Students and supporters sit in front of the office of the deputy commissioner as a sign of protest in Shivamogga district in India’s Karnataka state on February 17, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

By PTI

Published: Sun 20 Feb 2022, 6:17 AM

Last updated: Sun 20 Feb 2022, 9:16 AM

Girl students in many parts of Karnataka were denied entry into their respective educational institutions on Saturday as they arrived in hijabs, despite a court order, as the issue showed no signs of abating after its flare-up about a fortnight ago that prompted the government to close down colleges and institutions for a couple of days.

As many as 58 students at Shiralakoppa in Shivamogga district who had refused to remove their hijab and staged a demonstration against the government pre-university college administration were suspended.

They were suspended on Friday and were told that they should not come to the college, a student told reporters. On Saturday too, they came to the college, raised slogans and demanded their right to wear hijab. However, they were not let in.

”We came here but the principal told us that we have all been suspended and there is no need for us to come to the college. Even police told us not to come to the college but we came here. Today, no one spoke to us,” the students complained.

Despite a government order and the Karnataka High Court’s interim order restricting the students from wearing hijab or saffron scarves inside classrooms, the girls came to schools and colleges donning the headscarf.

In the SJVP College at Harihar in Davangere district, girls wearing hijab were denied entry. The pupils refused to go inside without the scarf, stressing that it was as important as education and they cannot give up their right.

In Vijay Paramedical College in Belagavi district, students complained to the reporters that a holiday was announced by the institution for an indefinite period due to the hijab issue.

”We will not sit without headscarves. Let the college realise how it affects our education. The principal is not listening to us,” a student told the media.

In Ballari, a group of girls were not allowed inside the Sarala Devi College, which has been witnessing protests from the day the controversy erupted and the government had ordered that no one should wear clothes that could disturb peace, harmony and, law and order.

The government college at Gangavathi in Koppal district too faced a similar situation where girls were not allowed inside the college.

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In Kudur village in Ramanagara district, some students staged a demonstration on the college ground after they were not allowed to enter the classrooms.

On January 1, six girl students of a college in Udupi attended a press conference held by Campus Front of India (CFI) in the coastal town protesting against the college authorities denying them entry into the classroom by wearing hijab.

This was four days after they had requested the principal permission to wear hijabs in classes which was not allowed. Till then, students used to wear hijab to the campus and entered the classroom after removing the scarves, the college principal Rudre Gowda had said.

“The institution did not have any rule on hijab-wearing as such since no one used to wear it to the classroom in the last 35 years. The students who came with the demand had the backing of outside forces,” Gowda had said.


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