A court in India’s Karnataka has upheld the state-imposed ban on schools and colleges. The Muslim community which makes up the second-largest minority in India fears that the decision could set a precedent for other states, particularly at a time when extremists backed BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party) is in the government. The court’s verdict has resulted in protests from the Muslims and counter-protests from the extremist Hindus who want a nationwide Hijab ban in India. Critics argue that the ban on Hijab will marginalize the Muslims who will not be able to dress according to their choice while opponents say that India is a Hindu majority state hence it doesn’t want to see students wearing religious outfits in educational institutions.
Hindu Organisations Calling for Wider Hijab Ban in India
The verdict of the Karnataka high court has caused concerns among Muslims who fear further onslaught on the freedom to dress according to their choice. The Hindu extremist groups are calling other states to impose a similar ban in educational institutions. VHP (Vishua Hindu Parishad) which is affiliated with Hindutva organisation RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) has called for the Hijab ban in India’s most populous state Utter Pardesh and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat as well.
VHP Gujarat leader Ashok Raval, reportedly stated that there was a Hijab ban in India for defence forces, police forces and even the government offices then why there was an insistence for Hijab in educational institutions.
Reactions Over Karnataka Court’s Verdict
18 years old Ayesha Hajeera Almas, the student who had appealed against the Karnataka government’s decision in the court has now decided to appeal in the Supreme Court. Ayesha who along with her fellow members is protesting against the ban reportedly stated that they felt they were living in an India where its citizens were not treated equally.
The Muslims and other Indians who want to see their country holding to the secular values had resisted the Karnataka state’s decision from the very start. For instance, several incidents like Hijab girl chanting Allah hu Akbar in response to a pro-ban mob chasing her have made headlines. Now when the Karnataka court has upheld the state’s decisions more protests have started. As per media reports, hundreds of protesters took to the street to show their disagreement against the court’s verdict.
What Can be Repurcussions of This Verdict
Currently, there is no Hijab ban in India in its entirety. Also, the Karnataka court verdict upheld the government’s decision to ban the Hijab in educational institutions. The decision has just added to the growing unrest of minorities in India who continue to face repression in different forms; this is mainly because of the policies of the BJP government which is radicalizing and polarizing India by being a patron to Hindu extremists. The concern of the Hijab ban in India apparently might be a concern for the Muslims only but it has equally caused worry among liberal Indians who see authoritarianism and totalitarianism replacing the secularism in the country. The fact is evident from how several non-Muslim citizens have come to show solidarity with the Muslims amidst the Hijab row in India.