The Government PU College in Udupi, which is in news following protest by some students demanding that they be allowed to wear hijab in the classroom, will remain closed for seven days following six students and a lecturer reporting positive for COVID-19.
“As per the prevailing COVID norms, we have closed temporarily for period of seven days,” said college principal Rudre Gowda. All the lecturers, other staff members, who are primary contacts, have undergone RTPCR test on Friday. Students will also undergo RTPCR tests, he added.
Meanwhile, Udupi MLA Raghupathi Bhat, who heads the College Development Committee, said a letter has been written to the PU Department asking to clarify whether the institution can continue with uniform, which is in vogue since 1985.
“Though the State Government does not prescribe any uniform in government colleges, the institution has continued with the uniform since 1985. In light of the controversy, we have written asking for clarification on the uniform. Reply from the Government is awaited,” Mr. Bhat told The Hindu . He reiterated the stand of the institution in favour of uniform.
On December 31, 2021, six students protested demanding allowing hijab in classroom. They said the college was not allowing them to attend classes for the past 15 days. A meeting of parents and college development committee was held on January 1 where it was decided to continue with the uniform, while asking clarification from the State Government on the issue.
On Thursday, five students protested on the college premises and reiterated their demand for allowing hijab inside the classroom. Terming the action of students as an “act of indiscipline”, Primary and Secondary Education Minister B.C. Nagesh said educational institutions are not the place to practice one’s religion. If the students are adamant in practicing their faith they are open to leave the college and join an institution where hijab is allowed, he said.
A delegation of National Students’ Union of India led by State vice-president Faraq Bayabe on Friday submitted a memorandum to Udupi Deputy Commissioner M. Kurma Rao to allow students to sport hijab in the classroom.
NSUI State secretary Shathabish Shivanna said the NSUI will file a writ petition in the High Court questioning the bar on sporting hijab, which, he said, which goes against fundamental right to religion of those students. “We are supporting the cause of the protesting students,” he said.
Hindu Jagaran Vedike Mangaluru Divisional Secretary Prakash Kukkehalli, in a statement to media, said if girls are allowed to wear hijab then other students will come with saffron shawls to institutions across Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.