Bengaluru: Six Muslim students of a government college in Karnataka’s Udupi district alleged that they were denied entry into classrooms for wearing a hijab. They even claimed that a particular teacher threatened to push them out of the class.
The college reportedly barred six students since December last week. A photograph has gone viral in which students in headscarves and college dress are seen sitting on the staircase outside the classroom.
“We are still sitting outside the class. We are not allowed to go inside the classroom,” one student Aliya Assadi was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. “One day, we had gone inside the classroom, but the teacher’s response was, ‘If you don’t go out of the class, I will push you out,’” the students further said.
College authorities, however, said that the students were barred because of a violation of the dress code.
According to the college principal Rudra Gowda, the students are allowed to wear headscarves on the college premises, but not inside the classrooms. According to him, the rule is being implemented to ensure uniformity in classrooms.
“There are no provisions to have hijab as the uniform in our school’s rules…They can attend classes if they remove the hijab…,” Gowda said.
“Though it is our fundamental right, though it is our constitutional right, they are still not allowing us to go in the class because we are wearing hijab.
“There is a lot of discrimination in the college. We can’t speak in Urdu. We can’t do salam to each other,” Assadi again said.
The incident drew attention from the All-India Lawyers Association For Justice, and it has demanded a state government probe into the matter. “The actions of the college administration and staff against the students is per se violative of the fundamental rights of the students,” the non-profit organisation said via a statement.
Udupi district deputy commissioner and Karnataka education minister were unavailable for comments.