Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah has ordered the removal of the hijab ban from government schools. He himself said that this order was given yesterday Friday. The Indian media reported this information in a report.
K Siddaramaiah wrote on his X handle, ‘I have already told the government officials to withdraw the ban on hijab from Saturday (today).’
The Chief Minister also wrote, ‘Clothes, food, these are matters of personal choice of every person. No one should interfere in these matters.’
Last year, during the BJP-ruled government, BJP Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had imposed a ban on Muslim students wearing hijab or headscarves in schools in Karnataka. Due to this decision, the tension of the state was so evident that finally the matter reached the court. K Siddaramaiah recently became the Chief Minister of Karnataka.
Speaking at an event yesterday, Siddaramaiah took a jibe at the BJP and said, “They (BJP) say ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ (cooperation of all, development of all). But those who wear hijab, burqa, beard, they keep away again. Their words and deeds do not match. Dressing is a personal choice. Why does the government turn a blind eye to all this? I wear dhoti and kurta. Some wear pants and shirts. Who can say what? Injustice – or where?’
In January last year, six Muslim students of a government pre-university in Karnataka’s Udipi district complained that the school authorities had barred them from entering the school wearing hijab. Later they protested outside the educational institution.
In protest of that protest, Hindu students started coming to classes wearing ocher sheets and veils in various educational institutions. Gradually communal tension spread almost all over the state. Clashes also occur between the two communities at some places.
Section 144 was also issued as a precautionary measure in Shivmoga district. Later the matter went to court. In that case on March 15 last year, the Karnataka High Court said that it is not necessary to wear hijab in Islam. The notification issued later by the government regarding hijab will remain in force.
“Clothes that disturb equality, integrity and public law and order should not be worn,” the government notification said.
The students then approached the Supreme Court challenging the Karnataka High Court verdict. Two judges of the division bench of the Supreme Court gave the opposite verdict. They asked the petitioners to make a request to the Chief Justice to send the matter to a larger bench.
In such a situation, Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah announced the withdrawal of hijab ban.