Amid row over hijab, Karnataka bans clothes that undermine harmony and public order | Latest India News

Amid the ongoing row over the hijab, the Karnataka government on Saturday banned garments that disrupt harmony and public order. The Karnataka High Court will hear the plea filed by the five Udupi College girls on February 8.

The education department of Karnataka government has stated that all public schools should follow the uniform as stipulated by the state government while students in private institutions should adhere to school dress, as decided by the school administration. Clothing that disturbs equality, integrity and public order will be prohibited.

The order comes amid a row of hijabs that snowballed into major political controversy after several colleges denied entry to students wearing hijabs. On Saturday, the education department said colleges that fall under the pre-university department of the state government will follow the dress decided by the college development board. And if there is no such code, then students can wear a robe that will not affect equality, integrity, and law and order.

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The government on Saturday invoked 133(2) of the Karnataka Education Act 1983, which stipulates that a uniform style of clothing must be worn compulsorily.

The controversy started in early January when some college students in Udupi and Chikkamagaluru started wearing the hijab in class. Then the protest spread elsewhere and attracted political attention.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has condemned the denial of entry to female students wearing the hijab and said it is robbing the future of India’s girls. Karnataka BJP leaders have backed the hijab ban inside colleges and said no Talibanization will be allowed inside the university campus.

Hindu students staged demonstrations wearing saffron robes to protest students wearing hijabs.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has accused the BJP and RSS of trying to create communal discord in the name of hijab.

BJP Chairwoman Nalin Kumar Kateel said the government would not allow hijab to be worn in educational institutions and would take strict measures against such Talibanization. “There is a BJP government in this state, there is no place for hijab or any other related incident. Schools are temples to mother Saraswathi (goddess of education); everyone should respect the rules and regulations there. Bringing religion there is not right, what the students need is education, if someone can’t follow the rules, he can choose its way elsewhere,” he said.

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Elizabeth J. Harless