Colleges and pre-university educational institutes have reopened in Karnataka, India, but the row for banning hijab and headscarves for Muslim students is still there.
On February 15, when the schools reopened after a short pause aiming to curb the protests that had taken place earlier demanding to allow Muslim clothing in schools, Muslim women were forced to remove their burqa, hijab and headscarves in public, right at the gates of the schools.
Videos showing Muslim women being forced to remove their hijab and burqa are surfacing on the Indian social media sphere, especially, on Twitter. Journalists, rights activists and other people from different walks of life are sharing those videos.
ANI, a news agency, posted a video on Twitter showing that a teacher is asking a student to remove her hijab before entering college. But the parent of the student requested the teacher to allow the student to enter the college and remove her hijab outside public eyes, but the teacher denied his request. This incident took place in Mandya district in Karnataka state, reported The Wire, an Indian independent newsbrand.
Many on Twitter accused the administrator of schools that are not allowing students to enter school premises with burqas or hijabs are humiliating Muslim women in public.
"A 250 million Muslim population in India, their women are being disrobed in public, their hijabi daughters are being heckled, humiliated and intimidated. Their children are being picked up, arrested on false charges. And yet very few voices speaking out, expressing their anger," Rana Ayyub, a journalist known for her strong words, wrote on Twitter.
Earlier, the Karnataka high court, on February 10, imposed an interim ban on articles of clothes that represent a religion or faith. This order has stopped students from wearing hijab, burqa or saffron shawls. It has also validated a false equivalence between saffron shawls and hijabs- burqas. While saffron shawls came to the fore recently to politicise the issue, hijabs and burqas are an age-old convention for Muslim women.
The court order implied that a section of the society should accept the suspension of its fundamental right because the state is failing to protect or respect them, or the state is actually unwilling to do so.
The development came after a few schools in Karnataka prevented Muslim students from entering schools wearing hijab and burqas. Muslim students started protesting against this move, and subsequently, more schools in the same state decided the same which eventually prompted protests from more students in many places in Karnataka and other states.
When the protest was at the pick, a Twitter video showed that a Muslim student wearing a burqa was heckled by the male students wearing saffron headgears and scarves. The Muslim student was protected by school staff.
For now, Muslims across India are waiting for the final verdict of the Karnataka high court about the hijab-row. However, the trust of Muslim citizens in Indian court continues to deteriorate after the Babri Masjid land judgement and refusal of the Supreme Court to hear the petitions challenging the decision to abolish the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir.
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