A coalition of women’s groups has appealed to the Supreme Court to “lose no time” in staying the Karnataka High Court order issued on Tuesday, which they said “will result in the exclusion of hijab wearing Muslim girls from accessing education.”
“This order will have a far-reaching negative impact on the safety, dignity, and right to education of Muslim girls and women,” the statement said.
Detailing how the interim order of the High Court order had created hurdles for Muslim girl students from accessing education, the statement appealed to the apex court “to protect hijab-wearing Muslim girls and women from any further such grievous instances of discrimination, exclusion, public humiliation, and harassment”.
Pointing out that the judgment recognises the College Development Committee’s right to make decision regarding uniforms, the coalition of women’s groups appealed to the CDCs to “allow girls and women to wear hijabs along with uniforms just as Sikh boys and men can wear turbans, and Hindus can wear bindis, tilaks, threads, sindoor etc.” The statement said that no CDC had expressly banned hijabs, but in fact had made additions to their rules specifying hijabs could be worn along with uniforms. The groups argued that it was not hijab wearing girls who defied the prescribed uniforms, “but Hindu-supremacist groups that disrupted colleges, forcing them (CDCs) to amend the rules to selectively prohibit hijabs.”
The statement has been endorsed by many organisations, including All India Progressive Women’s Association, Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, National Federation of Indian Women, and Pragatisheel Mahila Sanghatan.
Meanwhile, Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane, expressing similar concerns, pointed out that the second year Pre-University exams, a key milestone in the education of students in the State, was approaching, and feared the High Court order will hit the education of many girls. It demanded that the State Government take immediate measures to ensure no student misses out on the exam.