Mount Carmel College clarifies stand on allowing hijab in classes after row.

The management of Mount Carmel PU College on Friday denied reports that the college is allowing students to wear hijab in classes.

Sister Genevieve, administrator, Mount Carmel College, confirmed that students wearing hijab would not be allowed to enter classes, and the Karnataka high court order has been published on the college campus.

She, however, added that the Sikh student, who was earlier asked to remove her turban, will be allowed to attend classes wearing religious attire.

The clarification from the college comes after reports claimed that MCC college has allowed pre-university students to attend classes wearing the hijab.

Talking to HT, Sister Genevieve said that only an exemption was made when class photos of the second year PU students were taken.

“We have allowed the students to take their class photos with the hijab on. But about attending classes, we are following the High Court’s orders. Those students who come wearing a hijab to the class are counselled,” she said.

She added that the study holidays for the second PU students began on Friday.

On February 5, the Karnataka government had banned “clothes that were against law and order”, and on February 10 the Karnataka high court issued an interim order, banning all religious outfits as it heard petitions challenging the restrictions.

While the reports claimed that the government had issued a clarification that the ban on religious attire will not apply to private and minority institutions, the office of the Karnataka education minister BC Nagesh denied the claim. “No such orders or clarifications have been issued by the department,” said a statement from the office of the minister.

The Karnataka government issued a circular on February 16 stating that the high court proposal of no religious garments in educational institutions applies to all minority institutions run under the state government. However, on February 22, Karnataka advocate general Prabhuling Navadgi told the court that the “government is not interfering in any manner in the minority unaided institutions.”

On the same day, the high court said in an oral clarification of its February 10 order that restrictions on wearing religious symbols like the hijabs and saffron shawls would apply only to state colleges where uniforms have been prescribed by the colleges.

MCC College had faced a similar controversy after it asked a female Sikh student to not attend classes wearing a turban, citing the interim order from the Karnataka high court on February 16. The student’s family had decided to seek legal help while informing the college that she would not remove the turban. The 17-year-old student is an Amritdhari Sikh and must follow the rules of the Rahit Maryada — the Sikh code of conduct — which includes wearing a turban.

The student’s father, Gurucharan Singh, said that the college didn’t force his daughter to remove the turban but asked the family if she was willing to remove the turban while attending classes.

The college management said that the Sikh student was allowed to wear the turban and attend classes. “We were informed that the Sikh community has been given the right to wear their religious attire. Following this clarification, we have allowed the student to attend classes,” said sister Genevieve.

The hijab controversy erupted in December, last year when eight Muslim girls at the Government Pre-University College in Udupi alleged that they were denied entry to classrooms after they started wearing headscarves on December 28, 2021. Following this, several other colleges, too, banned the entry of Muslim girl students wearing hijab, leading to protests across the state. The Karnataka high court has heard several petitions against the ban and a three-judge bench has reserved their verdict.

“Heard. Order reserved,” the three-judge bench, headed by chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, said. The bench, also comprising justice Krishna S Dixit and justice JM Khazi, asked the petitioners to file written submissions, if any, before it.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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