A college in Karnataka’s Udupi district on Thursday barred students wearing hijabs or headscarves from attending classes, NDTV reported.
In a video that is being shared widely on social media, students of the Government Pre-University College in the town of Kundapur are seen pleading with the principal to allow them to attend classes while wearing hijabs.
The students are seen telling the principal that the examinations are merely two months away, and questioning why they are being barred for this reason now.
This was a day after about 100 boys affiliated with a Hindutva outfit came to the college wearing saffron shawls to protest against Muslim girls wearing hijabs inside classrooms, The New Indian Express reported.
The principal of the college, Ramakrishna, stood at the gate of the campus on Thursday and told the Muslim students that they could not attend classes while wearing hijabs. He said that he was acting on the directions of the Kundapur MLA Halady Srinivas Shetty, who is the president of the college development committee.
The boys who earlier wore saffron shawls as a form of protest were on Thursday allowed to attend classes as they were no longer wearing the shawls.
Udupi district in-charge minister S Angara said that status quo should be maintained till the matter was resolved, according to NDTV.
“I will hold discussions with the district administration,” he said. “It’s difficult to draft separate rules for every college. But if that’s been done, the government will take an informed decision.”
Angara said that he has called for a meeting of stakeholders.
This is the second instance of students having been denied entry to an educational institute for wearing hijabs.
For nearly a month, students at the Government Women’s Pre-University College in Udupi protested after the college did not allow them to attend classes while wearing hijabs.
On Tuesday, Resham Farooq, a student at the college, filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court demanding that they be allowed to wear hijabs, The Indian Express reported.
On Monday, Udupi MLA K Raghupati Bhat said that students need not attend class if they wear the headscarves.
“We met the parents of the girls and told them – if they have decided that to wear hijab inside the classroom, they don’t need to come,” he said, according to The Indian Express. “It has polluted the atmosphere of the college.”