Upset with the Karnataka High Court giving verdict against wearing of Hijab, several Women Organisations have launched a signature campaign demanding the Apex Court to give stay on the HC order.
Stating that the order would prevent and act as major impediment in education of the Muslim girls, the campaign appeals the Supreme Court to intervene in the interest of the students.
“ The HC order says that the college development committee has the authority to make decisions on uniforms. Many colleges themselves have made a rule in Karnataka that the students can wear Hijab along with the uniform. Like Hijab constitutes part of Islam, so is Turban of Sikh, Bindi/Tilak of Hindus. There is permission for the students of non-Muslims to follow their religious practices, similar permission should be given to Muslims girls to practice their religious customs”, the women associations have appealed to all the college development committees of the state.
Reminding the college development committees that there was no such ban on wearing of Hijab in any college in the State in the past, the associations have said that in fact, the rules framed by the committees states that the Muslim female students can wear Hijab which is matches the colour of the uniform. Therefore the Hijab wearing students have not rejected any order of Uniform”, they said.
Pro Hindu outfits have been demanding a ban on wearing Hijab. The HC had the opportunity to curb such elements which are illegally forcing the colleges to act against the rule. But the HC has failed to do that. The decision has only put the students of Muslim community in more danger”, the letter said.
Urging the SC to grant immediate stay to the HC order, the letter said that the HC order will have far reaching negative consequences on dignity, security and educational aspects of the Muslim students.
The letter informed that the interim order of the HC had not only forced the students but also the Muslim teachers to remove Hijab in pubic even before they enter the college premises. The act of forcing the students and teachers to remove Hijab in public was no less than an insult to women fraternity.
Because of the interim order, many students could not attend the classes and even had to skip the practical exams. Several teachers who could not tolerate this insult, resigned from the services. The order of Government of Karnataka instigated the education officers not to allow the Hijab wearing students and teachers to enter the college premises.
“We even heard of some incidents where the Hijab wearing were humiliated in public areas”, the letter said and quoted one such incident that took place in a Bank in Bihar.
In order to save Muslims girls from facing humiliation, harassment and discrimination, the SC must give stay on the order of HC, the letter said.
The letter has made a list of various aspects of HC order which they considered misleading the people.
The order said that Hijab is not an essential part of Islam. But at the same time, it is completely unconstitutional of depriving the Muslim girls from their right to education merely because they are wearing Hijab.
Making it clear about the concept of B. R. Ambedkar on Naqab, Burqa or Hijab, the letter said that Ambedkar never said that even that girl who comes to college for education by wearing Hijab voluntarily should be prevented from taking education.
The order forces Hijab wearing women either to get education in Minority institutions or stay at home without pursuing education.
The decision makes a grave mistake of considering uniform as a presentation of unity. The uniforms of the colleges always have been representing the religious diversity of the country. For instance, uniforms allow Sikh students to wear turban in colleges. Thus the diversity which allows students to wear turban and Hijab does not remain different from uniform. Forcible unity was never part of the Indian schools and colleges.
The order misinterprets the concept of dress code and his concerns for the people. The order gives a sense that Hijab is against the interest of Muslim women thus, they should not wear Hijab. The order has failed to understand the idea of liberty and freedom of women in choice of clothing.
The order also fails to distinguish between forced religious practices and voluntary decisions. It is the choice of the women to practice any of the religious customs. While the SC allowed women to enter Sabarimala temple as the SC considered it as the religious rights of women, similarly, wearing the Hijab should be considered as a religious right of women. The order clearly does not force the women to visit Sabarimala temple even if she does not want to.
Similarly, Muslims women should not be forced to remove their Hijab if they don’t want to. Forcing them to remove Hijab under the pretext of giving ‘liberty’ to them, is just such an absurd argument.
The real liberty of the women is possible only when their independence and their choices are respected and not forcing customs in the name of religions.
The letter has extended complete solidarity with the Hijab wearing Muslim girls who are fighting for their right to education, respect and independence. The letter has been signed by office bearers of various women organizations.