The ‘hijab-saffron shawl’ controversy created confusion in some colleges in north Karnataka districts as students came to attend classes wearing ‘hijab’ and ‘saffron shawls’, forcing the college administrations to suspend classes for the day in a few institutions.
Protests in favour of and against hijab were staged in various districts, with Hindu outfits staging protests opposing students wearing hijab, while Muslim and progressive organisations staging protests condemning what they termed as divisive politics by the ruling party.
These protests were witnessed in Davangere, Belagavi, Haveri, Vijayapura, and Hubballi. In Belagavi, members of the AIMIM staged a protest outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office, while members of various organisations staged a protest outside the Mini-Vidhana Soudha in Hubballi, terming hijab as their right.
In Vijayapura district, the administration of Shri Shanteshwar Pre-University and G.R.B. Degree College at Indi suspended classes after groups of students tried to enter the college by wearing saffron shawls. According to principal of Shanteshwar college S.B. Jadhav, classes were suspended as a precautionary measure after a few students tried to attend classes wearing saffron shawls. The college administration alerted the police and subsequently, a police contingent was posted outside the college.
In CM’s district
In the Chief Minister’s home district Haveri, there was confusion in a few colleges as students came wearing hijab and saffron shawls.At Government First-Grade College in Gandhipur, RTES College in Ranebennur, Government First-Grade College and Keerti College in Savanur, several students had come with saffron shawls and raised slogans.
At Gandhipur college, several girl students came wearing hijab, while another group of students came with saffron shawls. The principal and the staff stopped the students and after a meeting, classes were suspended for the day. Subsequently, the principal issueda notice asking the students to come only in college uniform.
Members of the Students Federation of India (SFI), led by district associate secretary Basavaraj Bhovi, staged a protest outside Gandhipur college alleging that hijab vs. saffron shawl row had been raked up to divide students. Priority should be education and employment, they said.
In Davangere, protests were held at Jayadeva Circle both in favour of and against hijab by members of the Hindu Jagaran Vedike and the Mahila Hakkugala Hitarakshana Vedike.
At the Government First-Grade College for Women, there was some confusion as girl students came wearinghijab and some others came wearing saffron shawls. Principal Prakash Hosamani has said that the college had witnessed such an event for the first time and on Tuesday all the students would be directed to come wearing only the prescribed uniform.
‘Not college students’
A few students of Basaveshwara Degree College in Lingsugur, Raichur district, came to the college wearing saffron shawls. They were barred from entering classrooms. They later took photos outside the college and shared them on social media. The principal of the college, however, said the saffron shawl-clad youth were not students of the college.
In Kalaburagi, activists of Sri Ram Sene staged a demonstration outside the district administrative complex demanding enforcement of the order making uniforms mandatory in colleges and deny entry to hijab-clad students.
In Raichur, girls, most wearing burkha or hijab, staged a protest at Tipu Sultan Garden near the Deputy Commissioner’s office asserting their right to wear a hijab. They condemned college authorities that denied entry to hijab-clad girls.