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Nagpur: The ‘Hijab vs saffron scarves’ continue to spread like a wildfire in Karnataka colleges. The high court is all set to hear petition filed by the Muslim students of Women’s PU colleges in Udupi. The row started back in December 2021.

Several colleges are ‘shutting’ the main gates for those who are ‘violating the dress codes.’ In the recent development, the Muslim students wearing hijab were allowed in but were made to sit in separate classrooms. The war of words continues between the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) leaders and the Congress-JD(S). The opposition has come out in support of the protesting Muslim students and urged the state government not to breach on their fundamental rights—Right to Education.

The Karnataka government on Saturday ‘banned’ the clothes that disturb ‘equality, integrity and public law and order.’

In December 2021, six students of Udupi Women’s PU College staged a protest at the campus after the college authorities reportedly refused to let them sit in the classrooms while wearing a hijab. On January 3, the Hindu students of the Government First Grade College in Koppa, Chikmagalur staged a protest wearing saffron scarves. Their demand was to let them wear saffron stoles if the Muslim girls are allowed to wear their hijabs and sit in the classrooms.

Students started protesting across the state and on January 6, Karnataka primary and secondary education minister B.C. Nagesh said that the state was mulling a uniform dress code to avoid further controversies.

On January 31, students of Udupi Women’s PU college approached the high court seeking interim relief to attend classes wearing hijabs. The state government till then asked all the colleges to maintain the status quo until the government comes up with a recommendation on the dress code.

The protest intensified after Kundapur government PU college shut on February 2, its main gate for students wearing hijab. The video of students pleading with the college principal to allow them to sit in the class went viral. On February 3, over 300 Hindu students backed by various Hindutva organisations staged a protest at Byndoor Government PU college.

Leaders of the saffron party have claimed that the Muslim students who want to wear hijabs to the colleges are trying to ‘Talibanise’ the educational institutions.

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