Published: 28th January 2022
We have right to religious freedom, can't force us to attend classes online: Udupi students protesting discrimination say
The six girls fighting for their right to religious freedom also hit international headlines recently. The college and state authorities have come under heavy criticism from activists
The six students of the government girls PU college in Karnataka's Udupi have decided to intensify their protest against the college after authorities said they can attend online classes if they remain insistent on wearing a hijab (Islamic headscarf) for in-person classroom lectures. The students were boycotting classes for the last four weeks as the college authorities refused to allow them to wear their hijab inside the classrooms.
Addressing reporters in Udupi on January 27, the students said that wearing hijab is their constitutional right and they are not willing to attend online classes which are 'discriminatory'. Asked about the other girls from the community attending classes without hijab, they said many are not coming forward as they are scared of the problems they may face. Education and rights are equally important.
The six girls fighting for their right to religious freedom also hit international headlines recently. The college and the state authorities have come under heavy criticism from activists. A Karnataka-based organisation, Campaign Against Hate Speech (CAHS), has condemned the discrimination faced by the hijab-wearing students across colleges in Karnataka. CAHS has initiated a signature campaign around a public statement, condemning the discrimination against the students in the state, particularly the ones in Udupi. Nearly 1,000 citizens have signed this statement, indicating the deep concern and distress at the denial of young Muslim women’s right to education, and the right to practice their religion, they said according to a report published in the Times of India.
Udupi MLA Raghupati Bhat, also chairman of the college development committee, had earlier said that the education department had ordered a status-quo on the dress code in classrooms. A high-level committee has been constituted by the department to study the dress code in colleges in other states. If they are persisting with their demand, they can choose online classes, he had said.