Published: 01st December 2022
Colleges for Muslim girls not yet discussed at all levels of gov't: Karnataka CM Bommai
The CM said the proposal was introduced by the Waqf board and reflected the Board's 'personal views'. News of the colleges had irked several Hindu organisations in the state
The BJP-led government in Karnataka is sending mixed signals on its alleged intent to establish 10 new colleges exclusively for Muslim girls in the state.
While the proposal to establish these colleges came from the Karnataka Waqf Board, IANS reported that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is all set to lay down the foundation stone for the colleges this month after a grant of Rs 2.50-crore was awarded for the project.
However, CM Bommai on Thursday, December 1, told media persons that the matter had not been "discussed at all levels of the government." "These might be personal views of the Chairperson Shafi Saadi of Karnataka State Board for Waqf. This is not the stand of the government to open schools for Muslim girls. The Waqf Board Chairperson should discuss the matter with the government," the CM said.
In his response to the CM's remarks, the Waqf Board Chairperson told IANS, "I spoke about opening colleges for women. I had stated that our board has Rs 25 crore fund. We will grant Rs 2.5 crore for each college and they will be started in 10 districts and this matter has been discussed with the minister." He claimed that his full statement was not published in the media, and his words were "twisted". Minister for Muzrai and Wakf, Shashikala Jolle clarified that she had not given any assurance to open exclusive colleges for Muslim girls.
IANS had reported that Hindu organisations in the state were planning "widespread protests" against the decision after it made news. Hindu Jana Jagruthi Samithi leader Mohan Gowda had warned that if colleges for Muslim girls are coming up exclusively, then, Hindu colleges and varsities should also be built.
Sri Rama Sena Founder Pramod Muthalik had challenged the ruling BJP that building exclusive colleges for Muslim girls would not be allowed in Karnataka. State-wide protests would be launched, he added.
IANS reported that Maulana Shafi Saadi, Chairperson of the Karnataka Waqf Board, said that the proposal for the exclusive colleges was made by the Board and the decision was taken after a large number of Muslim girls opted to stay at home since wearing hijab is no longer allowed on college premises of Karnataka. This was a result of a judgment by the Karnataka High Court in March this year, upholding the government's ban on hijab in educational institutions.
However, Shafi also clarified that the proposal had nothing to do with the hijab row and that the proposed colleges would function as per guidelines. "The project is in line with the 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' slogan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he maintained, as per a report by IANS.