On Tuesday, as the Budget session of the Parliament continued, the opposition parties in the Lok Sabha created ruckus on the hijab row in Karnataka. The leaders from the Congress, DMK, Indian Union Muslim League, CPM, CPI, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha staged protest and walked out the lower house during the session.

According to the reports, Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary, Congress’s Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha raised the hijab row issue during the zero hour session. “Some people are trying to divide the society in the name of religion”, he said demanding government’s statement on hijab controversy in Karnataka schools and colleges.

Congress Lok Sabha MP from Kerala Hibi Eden also gave adjournment motion notice in the lower house over the issue. However, BJP MP from Haveri addressed the house and said that the matter was a state subject and not the one that could be discussed in the parliament.

Earlier Congress MP TN Prathapan had requested the Education Minister to look into the matter and had asked to ensure the constitutional rights of the students. Indian Union Muslim League leaders also had demanded discussion on the Udupi Hijab row in the parliament yesterday.

The hijab controversy in Karnataka has gained national attention since the first week of January after several Muslim students were denied entry to classes in a Udupi college because they were wearing hijab. The college authorities had informed that the hijab was not a part of the uniform dress code suggested to the students.

Management under the new state guidelines had asked girl students to skip wearing hijab while in college. Eight girl students have constantly refused to follow the guideline as they claimed it prevented them from practicing their faith. Subsequently, several other colleges also started denying entry to students who did not conform to their respective dress codes. Soon, the Muslim women students who were demanding right to wear hijab (head scarf), started wearing burqas (full veil) instead.

Meanwhile, a petition arguing that Muslim women wearing Hijab should be permitted to attend classes was accepted by the Karnataka High Court. The petition was filed by a Muslim student, asking the High Court for a direction to allow wearing a hijab in college, stating that it is her ‘fundamental right’ granted under Article 14 and 25 of the Indian Constitution and ‘integral practise of Islam’.

As the hijab row continues to rage on, Hindu students, too, registered their protests against the Muslim students wearing hijab by donning saffron scarves. In a Government Junior College in Kunadapur, around 100 Hindu students came to the college with saffron scarves around their necks to protest against Muslim girls continuing to wear Hijab to the college.

On Tuesday, tensions prevailed at some educational institutions in Karnataka’s Udupi, Shivamogga, Bagalkote and other parts as incidents of stone-pelting and violence were reported from various parts of the state. Police reportedly resorted to lathi-charge to quell up the mob, which began pelting stones at Pre-University Colleges in various districts of the state.

In Islamic countries like Afghanistan, where Sharia is the law of land, hijab, burqa are mandatory and not wearing one is punishable. Women in Afghanistan have been killed for not wearing burqa as per Sharia.

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