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Karnataka: Two hijab petitioners sent back, another stays away as exams start

As over 11,000 students skipped the exam, the education minister blamed the two girls’ 'ego issues' and a BJP OBC Morcha leader said the headscarf could be banned from public places as well in future

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Bengaluru |
Updated: April 23, 2022 9:31:50 am
Aliya Assadi and Resham were not allowed to write their 2nd PUC exam in Vidyodaya PU College, Udupi on Friday. (Image from video screengrab by Jithendra M) 

As the second-year pre-university examinations started Friday amid tight security, two students of the Government Pre-University (PU) Girls’ College in Udupi district, who had moved court over the hijab row, were stopped from taking their tests while wearing the head dress.

Aliya Assadi and Resham walked out of their examination centre at Vidyodaya PU College after they were told they would have to remove the hijab if they wanted to sit for the test.

The two students are part of the group of five Muslim girls that had challenged the government’s ban on wearing of hijab inside classrooms in the High Court. The court last month dismissed their plea saying the headgear did not constitute an essential religious practice in Islam.

Ahead of the exam, the students had yet again asked the education department to allow them to appear in the tests while wearing hijab, but were denied permission.

Nearly 7 lakh students will write the exam at 1,076 centres across the state. The exams will go on until May 18.

Some colleges in Bengaluru and Hanagal that The Indian Express visited Friday had designated a special room for girls to remove their hijab before entering the exam hall, in line with the directions of the PU department.

While Aliya Assadi and Resham left without taking the Business Studies test, Aliya Banu, another student who was part of the petitioners’ group, did not turn up.

The remaining two, Almas A H and Hazra Shifa, are Science students whose exams are due next week.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said Aliya Assadi and Resham not being allowed to take the test was “only one incident”. The education minister, he said, will take care of such issues.

Education Minister B C Nagesh said the two students “have ego issues” in following the HC verdict.

“This is their ego and time is the only solution for their ego issues. Many Muslim religious leaders have told their community students that education is important, not hijab,” Nagesh told reporters in Chikkamagaluru.

Meanwhile, general secretary of the BJP National OBC Morcha Yashpal Anand Suvarna warned that “in future, hijab will be banned in public places as well”.

“European countries are mulling it and we, who are dreaming of ‘Hindu Rashtra’, must be the ones to implement it first,” Suvarna, who is also the vice-president of the Development Committee of the Udupi Government PU Girls’ College, said.

Earlier, Almas and Aliya had tweeted to Bommai asking for permission to sit for the examinations wearing the hijab. “2nd PU exams are going to start from 22nd of this month. Hon’ble CM @BSBommai you still have a chance to stop our future from getting ruined. You can make a decision to allow us to write exams wearing hijab. Please consider this.We are the future of this country. #HijabisOurRight,”  Aliya tweeted on April 13.

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