Hijab Not Allowed, Says Karnataka Minister As Board Exams to Begin on Monday


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Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Amid the hijab ban, Karnataka state board examinations for 10th standard will begin on Monday. The state government refused to allow HIjab in classrooms during exams even as many Muslim girls would not able to attend the exams if they were not allowed to wear the head scarf.

More than 8.76 lakh students are appearing for the exam in over 40,000 halls in 3,440 centres across the state.

“After the high court order, we’ve not allowed that (hijab). We’ve given clarification that they (students with hijab) can come into the campus wearing the hijab but they cannot put it on in the classroom. The same condition will apply during the exams,” Primary and Secondary Education Minister B.C. Nagesh said.

The minister had earlier warned the students against skipping the exams, saying there would not be any re-examination.

“According to the Karnataka Education Act and the Rules, religious sentiments should not be part of the uniform dress rule. The same notification, the HC has upheld. Tomorrow, there is no scope of violation of the dress code,” Nagesh said.

Several Muslim girls at a college in Udupi had boycotted classes and skipped practical exams after they were denied permission to wear hijab. On March 15, the Karnataka High Court dismissed a batch of petitions filed by students and maintained that wearing hijab is not an essential religious practice in Islam.

The high court order has been challenged in the Supreme Court while a section of Muslim girls continues to boycott classes and has indicated about skipping the board exams. Pointing that hijab is as important as education, the students said they would not return to colleges until they get permission to wear the headscarf.

The high court, while ruling out the students’ petitions, said that there was no material placed on record to prima facie show that wearing the headscarf was an essential religious practice. Underlining that no reasonable mind can imagine a school without uniform, the court also observed that the concept of school uniform is not of a nascent origin.

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