Karnataka High Court Verdict Upholding Hijab Ban Triggers Massive Outrage


Protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate’s office against hijab ban order in Shivamogga, Karnataka. — (Photo: Twitter)

The much-awaited verdict has also caused concern in the Muslim community over it becoming precedent in other states.

Team Clarion 

NEW DELHI — The Karnataka High Court’s  ruling upholding  the ban on hijab in class has sparked massive outrage in the country. It triggered a debate on whether Courts can decide what constitutes an essential practice for a religious group.

The much-awaited verdict has also caused concern in the Muslim community over it becoming precedent in other states.

Anguished over the court ruling, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi took to twitter to vent his displeasure. He wrote a long thread criticising the judgement. He called it suspension of the fundamental right to freedom of religion, culture, freedom of speech and expression.
He said the High Court order has forced children to choose between education and Allah’s commands.
“For Muslims it’s Allah’s command to be educated while also following his strictures (salah, hijab, roza, etc). Now the government is forcing girls to choose. So far judiciary has declared masjids, keeping a beard & now hijab as nonessential. What is left of free expression of beliefs, ” he asked.

“Preamble to the Constitution says that one has LIBERTY of thought, EXPRESSION, belief faith, and WORSHIP. If it is MY belief & faith that covering my head is essential then I have a right to EXPRESS it as I deem fit. For a devout Muslim, Hijab is also an act of worship,” he contended.

“It’s time to review the essential religious practice test. For a devout person, everything is essential & for an atheist nothing is essential. For a devout Hindu Brahmin, janeu is essential but for a non-Brahmin it may not be. It is absurd that judges can decide essentiality,” the MP added.
He hoped that this judgement will not be used to legitimise harassment of hijab wearing women. He also hoped that the petitioners would approach the Supreme Court to appeal the judgement.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti also expressed their disappointment at the verdict on hijab.

“Very disappointed by the verdict of the Karnataka High Court. Regardless of what you may think about the hijab it’s not about an item of clothing, it’s about the right of a woman to choose how she wants to dress.

“That the court didn’t uphold this basic right is a travesty”, Omar Abdullah said on his twitter page.

Mehbooba Mufti said: “Karnataka HC’s decision to uphold the Hijab ban is deeply disappointing.

“On one hand we talk about empowering women yet we are denying them the right to a simple choice. It isn’t just about religion but the freedom to choose”.

Mohammad Salman Ahmad, National President, Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO), said that it was not the job of courts to interpret what is essential or non-essential about any faith. “We stand with all Muslim women students who are aggrieved by the Government Order that has been upheld by the court. We are currently seeking legal opinion on possible remedies,” he said.

Campus front of India said the verdict on Hijab ban “destructs the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution”.

The CFI warned that the BJP government was trying to implement their agenda and dehumanise a community and the High court verdict can now be a catalyst for their polarising agenda,”

Owaisi hoped that petitioners would appeal before the Supreme Court. He also hoped that All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and organisations of other religious groups would appeal against this judgment.

Meanwhile Chief Minister Basavraj Bomai urged the students to return to the classes and focus on education.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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