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Mangalore: From the time BJP started ruling the state, one or the other issues keep popping up about the religious rights. And this time, the hot issue about the ban of hijabs in the classrooms which has hit the Dakshina Kannada district.
On Friday, over a 100 Muslim students of Sri Ramakunjeshwara First Grade College, Ramakunja, near Uppinangady of Puttur taluk 65 km from Mangalore, boycotted classes over the issue of not allowing the girl students to wear the head scarves in the classrooms.
The students have not attended classes since Thursday, and on Friday sat in front of the college building demanding that headscarves be allowed inside the classroom.
But the situation got worse on Saturday, when the college authorities did not permit the students to enter the college premises and closed the gates on them. And so the students continued to protest against the issue outside the college gates. They have demanded that they would not stop the protest unless the college management permits them to wear the head scarves in the classroom which is their religious right. The college boys are also supporting the girls in the matter. The situation got so worse that the college authorities sought the help of police to take control of the situation.
According to the students, like the previous year, even this year the Muslim girls of the College had submitted a memorandum to the management requesting to revoke ban on headscarf inside the College. However the management had turned a deaf year to their demand and did not solve their problem.
On Friday, the college authorities held a meeting with the parents wherein the principal said that there is no such rule as to allow the students to wear the head scarves in the classrooms. Soon after the meeting with parents failed, the protesting students went around classrooms shouting slogans.
The students are bent on attending the classes only with their head scarves, while on the other side the principal is bent upon his decision that he would not permit it at any situation.
One of the B.Com II year students Fathima M said that they have been seeking permission from the college authorities regarding the head scarf from past one year, and they had even submitted a request in the beginning of this year, but the college authorities did not respond to their demand and so they decided to protest on Thursday.
Another student Safana said, -Our internal exams are on July 25 and we are protesting at the cost of our attendance and classes. We want to wear hijab because it is our religious right. In case we are not permitted, we are ready to leave the college. Let the college give us our transfer certificates.We are willing to go to court as well as take the issue up with the vice-chancellor.-
Askar Ali, a first-year B Com student speaking in favor of girls said, -The girls have not violated the dress code. They are only demanding that they be allowed to use the shawl, which is the part of uniform, to cover their heads. We cannot understand why the management is not permitting the students to do so.-
The parents complain that from the time the BJP has come to power in the State, it is behind bringing the saffron touch to the school and college education, instead of taking into account the developmental issues in the state. On one side, the history is being presented in the altered form in the school syllabus, whereas on the other hand the Muslim girls are degraded from pursuing education by imposing unwanted rules like taking away scarves from their heads. The parents said that they were ready to go to the court if the college does not help them with this issue.