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Hijab row: Karnataka bans clothes that 'disturb harmony, public order' in education institutions

Bengaluru, Feb 5: Seeking to end the hijab (head scarf) controversy in education institutions in Karnataka that has begun taking political colour, the State government on Saturday ordered banning wearing clothes which disturb equality, integrity and public order in schools and colleges.

"Invoking 133 (2) of the Karnataka Education Act-1983, which says a uniform style of clothes has to be worn compulsorily. The private school administration can choose a uniform of their choice," the government order said.

It said the students have to wear the dress chosen by the College Development Committee or the appellate committee of the administrative board of the pre-university colleges, which come under the pre-university education department.


"In the event of the administrative committee not selecting a uniform, clothes which disturb equality, integrity and public law and order should not be worn," the order said.

The government order noted that the KEA-1983 had explained that all students should wear a common uniform so that they should belong to a common family and behave in a manner that there is no discrimination.

The order also said that the second pre-university or the 12th standard is crucial for the students in their life.

A common programme has been chalked out for all the schools and colleges in the state for the benefit of students, the order said.

"However, the education department has noticed that in some education institutions, the boys and girls have started behaving according to their religion, which hurts the equality and unity," it added.

The order also cited the rulings of Supreme Court and various High Courts in India in favour of uniform.

Initially the controversy was restricted to Udupi and Chikkamagaluru in the beginning of January as Muslim girls started attending classes wearing Hijab. In protest, the Hindu students started attending classes wearing saffron scarves around their neck. Gradually the issue spread to other parts of the state where Muslim girls demanded permission to attend classes wearing head scarves.

The issue of Hijab had snowballed into a major controversy with political parties striving to derive mileage over it.

While the Congress leaders backed Hijab, the BJP said it will not allow 'Talibanisation' of education institutions.

Congress Legislature Party leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who has thrown his weight behind Muslim girls on their right to wear the hijab to educational institutions, accused the BJP and RSS of trying to create communal disharmony throughout the State in the name of Hijab.

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