Hijab issue leads to confrontation between college students in Karnataka

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The controversy over wearing a hijab resurfaced in Mangaluru district of the India state of Karnataka.

This time two groups of students from P. Dayananda Pai and the P. Satish Pai Government First Grade college in Mangaluru confronted each other over the hijab issue. However, the police restored normalcy in the college campus.

The principals of the colleges have allowed the Muslim students to wear a cloth around their head and appear for exams in the college. The students have been told not to use pins over the cloth which resembles a hijab.

The Muslim girl students, who appeared for the exams with a piece of cloth around their head, were met with protests by a few Hindu students who asked the former to leave the examination hall. This led to an argument between the two groups of students leading to a confrontation. However, the police rushed to the spot and took control of the situation.

The students have expressed their anger over the incident as the college was not affected with the hijab row until now, though it surfaced in other colleges.

Hiba Sheikh, a student, said the issue has been festering since the last month and why is the government interfering in the matter. “We (Muslim girl students) were allowed permission inside the college premises and have been told that we can also sit in the library and study. The principal has also assured of organising online classes for us,” she added.

The principals have asked the girls to wear shawls around their heads, letters have been sent and latter had taken permission before going to the examination hall.

The hijab row began in Udupi Government Girls’ pre-university college in December which turned into a major crisis in the state. The High Court has constituted a special bench to look into the issue and the matter has been reserved for a final judgment. The Karnataka BJP government has claimed that it is the handiwork of a few organisations to disturb peace in the state.

However, the students who started the pro-hijab protest, pressing for their right to wear the hijab during classes, have maintained that they are protesting without help from any organisation.

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