CM Siddaramaiah makes U-turn, says hijab ban not revoked yet | India News


MANGALURU: Just a day after announcing the Congress government’s “decision” to revoke the ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions in Karnataka enforced by the previous BJP-led dispensation, CM Siddaramaiah did a volte-face on Saturday. He claimed he had only intended to say that the demand for lifting the ban was still under consideration.
The CM had stated on Friday, after inaugurating a police station in Nanjangud, that his government had decided to withdraw the hijab ban, instructing officials to initiate the process.“No more will there be a ban on hijab. You can wear a hijab and go (to schools). Wearing and eating what you want and like is your choice,” he had declared.

However, facing backlash from the principal opposition BJP and VHP, Siddaramaiah reversed his stand on Saturday: “When I was addressing a gathering in Mysuru, one person asked me about the ban. Replying to him, I said the government will look into it.”

Asked about lifting the ban during the current academic year, the CM said it would be done after discussions at the government level and refused further questions on the issue.
Reacting sharply to the CM’s statement from the previous day, BJP alleged the government’s move raised concerns about the “secular nature” of educational spaces. Udupi MLA Yashpal Suvarna warned of potential demands for allowing saffron shawls if hijab is permitted, while former BJP minister KS Eshwarappa likened Siddaramaiah to Mohammed bin Tughlaq and predicted violence if hijab is allowed in schools and colleges.
In New Delhi, BJP’s Karnataka chief BY Vijayendra accused Siddaramaiah of “vitiating” the academic atmosphere and criticised Congress for engaging in “appeasement politics” ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. “Even after so many years of Independence, the literacy and employment rate among minorities is still 50%. Congress never tried to elevate the condition of minorities,” he said.

The controversy originated when Government PU College for Girls in Udupi asked students in December 2021 to remove their hijabs in the classroom. Six students refused, leading to their disallowance from attending classes, sparking national debate and protests. The BJP government later issued a circular directing adherence to prescribed uniforms, upheld by the Karnataka high court on March 15 last year, ruling that wearing the headscarf is not an essential religious practice of Islam. The matter then reached the Supreme Court.
Siddaramaiah’s statement on Friday ignited further controversy, with BJP and allied organisations strongly opposing the chief minister and the Congress government. They threatened to ask students to wear saffron shawls in response to the hijab.


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