Hijab is a fundamental issue of fundamental freedom
REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, BENGALURU – The ban on hijab at universities in the southern Indian state of Karnataka has sparked a major controversy. This comes amid growing concerns that attacks on Muslim symbols and practices are part of the Hindu right-wing agenda to impose majority values on minorities.
The country’s 200 million Muslim minority fear the hijab ban violates their freedom of religion guaranteed in India’s constitution. The US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom said the hijab ban would stigmatize and marginalize women and girls.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads governments in both Karnataka and the center, has backed the discriminatory ban. The BJP has campaigned for decades for the passage of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), which minorities believe tantamount to the passage of Hindu law.
On Tuesday (02/15/2022), Muslim female students who wore headscarves were banned from schools and colleges across the state. The image of Muslim girls removing their headscarves outside their schools caused a stir.
“About 13 of us were put in a separate room for wearing the hijab over the school uniform,” said Aliya Meher, a student at Karnataka Public School in Shivamogga District. Al JazeeraWednesday (02/16/2022).
“They told us that if we didn’t take off the hijab, we couldn’t take the exam. We responded by saying, ‘In that case, we will not take the exam. Suddenly they asked us to take off the hijab,” Meher added.
“General student. Certified food scholar. Falls down a lot. Subtly charming communicator. Wannabe music fanatic.”