Around 20 Muslim girls in hijab were stopped from entering a government institute in Karnataka. They stood at the gates and begged their principal to let them in. Social media has strongly condemned this behaviour for a proudly democratic country like India. They raised voices in solidarity with the girls who were denied from studying because of their dressing choices. They kept screaming, “why are you stopping us?” as there were no official rules that prevented hijab-wearing girls from entering the college. One student even said that they had just 2 months left for exams, but they were asked to remove their hijab first. According to the reports, the girls stood there for six hours until the classes were over.
No Future for Muslim Girls in Hijab
The institute shut the gates in the faces of Muslim girls who kept waiting outside in shock. However, it is not new, as Hindu extremists have been protesting against the use of the hijab at several institutions. Netizens called for all Indian students to stand in solidarity with the brave women who did not turn back after facing such inhumane treatment. The solidarity is important because extremists backed by government agencies are hell-bent on banning the hijab.
This is the second time an institution in a BJP-ruled state has behaved this way with girls. Previously, girls from PU Girls College in Udupi were also asked to remove their hijab before sitting in class. Reportedly, those students are still fighting for their rights, but no one supports them.
Pressure from Saffron Shawls
The institutions have started to intensify actions against Muslim girls in hijab after increasing protests by young boys in saffron shawls. These bright-coloured shawls symbolise extremism glorified by controversial “spiritual leaders” in India. Saffron is also the colour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party BJP. They have recently orchestrated many protests against the use of the hijab in institutions. Reportedly, the administration of Karnataka college also succumbed to the pressure and ordered the girls to lose their hijab if they wanted to study there.
This is the Kundapura govt college. Yesterday some students backed by Pro Hindu organisations had come to college wearing Saffron shawls & protested against the girls wearing Hijab to college & now it looks like the college has buckled under pressure.— Deepak Bopanna (@dpkBopanna) February 3, 2022
The officials of the institutions also have ambiguous explanations for the involvement of saffron shawl-wielding boys in institution matters. One said that girls were “allowed to wear the hijab during the class but not during the lesson”. One can clearly see how ridiculous it sounds. Moreover, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra deflected the question by saying, “neither hijab nor saffron shawls were allowed”. However, they failed to convey these rules to the girls or show some documented proof.
No Unity Among Students
Similar cases have appeared frequently in India since PM Modi’s BJP came to power in 2014. Two years ago, a journalism student was refused a job for wearing a hijab. Things have been escalating over time instead of decreasing. Sadly, it is not only government institutions afraid of Saffron Shawls, but even other students also fail to support their fellows. Muslim girls who want to hear hijab in PU Girls College have no support from other Muslim students. They have reportedly told the principal that they had no objection to a permanent ban on the hijab, and those girls were “creating disturbance unnecessarily”. As per the administration, there are several students who haven’t stood against the ban.