Open letter to Karnataka HC on misinterpretation of interim order on Hijab

Bahutva Karnataka seeks immediate intervention of the Chief Justice in giving justice to Muslim women and demand action against errant media.

students

Regretting that some people have misunderstood and misinterpreted the Karnataka High Court’s interim order on the Hijab row, NGO, Bahutva Karnataka has written an open letter to Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, Rituraj Awasthi.

The letter has stated that by misinterpreting the order, the Constitutional rights of Muslim women are being violated.

Expressing concern over the deliberate and inhuman attacks taking place on Muslim girls following the interim order issued by the High Court of Karnataka, the NGO has written letter in the backdrop the incidents.

“ One of the basic tenets of the Constitution of India is to guarantee self respect for the individual, brotherhood and unity. But today, various entities of the government, a section of media are constantly trying to demean Muslim women and malign the image by misquoting the interim order. The sheer silence of Judiciary even when the constitutional rights are being violated openly, is appalling “, the letter says.

Adding further, the letter says that on February 4, several colleges and High Schools of the State denied entry to students and teachers into the classes for wearing Hijab. The students and faculty were forced to remove their Hijab outside the premises of the college in the presence of onlookers.

The district administration, government departments, Ministers and media organizations have misinterpreted the order, the result of which is that they are disrespecting and disregarding Muslim women.

The letter has quoted various incidents being reported in the media on the issue.

The interim order makes it amply clear that the order applies only to the colleges that have implemented the dress code or uniform in their colleges.

Despite this fact, the Hijab order is being implemented in every college of the State, giving a sense that the interim order applies to all.

It is also reported that the district administrations have given oral directions to all the government and aided schools and colleges to ban Hijab in their institutions.

The camera persons of various news channels have been literally forcing the colleges to implement the interim order. They are even barging into the schools and showing the faces of the Muslim girls wearing Hijab in the classes.

This is a clear violation of the interim order of the Karnataka HC. They have created a fear of psychosis in the society with their negative publicity.

Authorities of a few schools and colleges have seen directing the Burqa wearing students and teachers to remove it at the main gate of the institutions itself in front of passersby. Those who refused to obey, were not allowed to enter the premises. The students have returned home without attending exams.

On February 15, in one of the schools of Shivamogga, the teachers disrespectfully sent a Hijab wearing student out. After the girl was sent away forcibly, a reporter of Etv Bharat news channel, chases the girl to capture her picture in his camera while the girl is running away in fear after being chased. It was one of the most tragic incidents to watch as a small girl is being treated like a criminal who is running away after committing some crime.

On February14 and 15, several Muslim students and teachers faced mental agony, harassment and disgrace they never faced in the past.

Because of the misinterpretation of the interim order, the fundamental right of Muslim women guaranteed under section 21 and 21 A of the Constitution to follow religion of their choice has been grossly violated.

Because of Covid pandemic, the educational institutions remained shut for a prolonged period. They have resumed the function only recently. On top of that, the final year exams are nearing and the students have to prepare for exams.

In such a crucial situation, Hijab controversy has only created fear among the students after it has taken a serious turn in the State.

At the time when the Covid pandemic had adversely affected the education of the students, it was the responsibility of the government to address the academic issues of the students caused by the pandemic.

But because of the government action with regard to Hijab row, more students would get deprived of education as they are not going to the schools and colleges.

The letter claims that on several occasions, attempts have already made to draw the attention of the High Court toward the injustice taking place against the Muslim girls, but for some reason, the Court has not considered it.

The Constitution gives authority to the Court to ensure that the rights of Muslim women are protected from violation of their rights by the Government or the Media.

The High Court should discharge their duties in this regard. The Court cannot remain as mute spectator when the constitutional rights of the people are grossly violated, the letter stated.

“ We are making yet another effort with this letter to draw the attention of the Court towards the incidents taking place in the State after issuing an interim order. The insult of the women and fellow citizens should not continue any more”, the letter said.

The letter mentions some of the points and appeals to the Court to take action.

The scope of the order should be clarified immediately.

Direction should be issued to conduct review of the misinterpretation of the order to the education department, deputy commissioner’s and elected representatives.

Relief should be given to the Muslims students and teachers whose rights of education have been denied.

Direction should be issued to the government to take action against those media channels that have violated the right to privacy of the people and constitutional aspirations, the letter added.

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