Call for ‘burkha ban’ on campus puts Muslim girls’ education in jeopardy

Right wing students in north Karnataka have been insisting that the burkha is banned in the classroom

October 27, 2016 11:26 pm | Updated December 02, 2016 12:03 pm IST - HUBBALLI:

Right wing students in north Karnataka have been insisting that the burkha is banned in the classroom.

Right wing students in north Karnataka have been insisting that the burkha is banned in the classroom.

Hindutwa politics in college campuses, hitherto confined to the coastal districts of Karnataka, has made its way to a college campuses in Haveri district with some students calling for a ban on girl students wearing the burkha in the classrooms. While college managements have not enforced any such ban, the tensions on campuses have put the education of the Muslim girls in jeopardy.

The controversy started with few college managements making uniforms mandatory for students.. However, Muslim girls were exempt from the order which irked students influenced by right wing elements.

Student pressure

College students of Hangal, Hirekerur and Akki Alur in Haveri district are insisting on imposing restrictions, which in turn has led to a ‘saffron versus burkha’ row sparking tensions on college campuses.

Although the college managements have not issued any order on banning girl students from wearing the burkha in the classrooms some students belonging to Hindutwa groups seem to have taken it upon themselves to enforce a ‘ban’. And to bring pressure on the college managements, including a few government colleges, which have exempted burkha-clad students, they have started coming to the classes wearing saffron shawls and dhotis or panche.

Considering the sensitivity of the issue, the managements decided to go slow on the issue, but those opposing it decided to display religious symbols on campuses.

While RSS office bearers in these towns have denied any role in the campus row, office bearers of Anjuman-e-islam including president of Hirekerur Anjuman-e-islam Abdul Khadar A. Lohar, have opposed a ban.

Caught in crossfire

Muslims girl students have been caught in the crossfire. Speaking on condition of anonymity, these students said: “Our parents will not allow us to go to college without the burkha. If they [right wing students] insist that we should remove burkha in the classrooms, then we will be forced to discontinue studies.”

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