Ill-motivated ‘Hijab ban’ has pushed Muslim girls out of school, an Indian politician says

The Indian politician and journalist, John Brittas on February 10 raised the hijab issue in the Rajya Sabha saying that over a lakh Muslim girl students have dropped out of government colleges in Karnataka after the controversial ban on head coverings in educational institutions in the state.

Brittas was taking part in a discussion in the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), seeking that the government implement the recommendations of the Sachar Committee report.

Since early 2021 when the ill-conceived and targeted “Hijab ban’ in the coastal districts of the southern state gripped the headlines and fed the grist of the propaganda mill, several formal and informal surveys have underlined the sharp impact of this restriction of girls (women) participation in education.

A survey conducted by the Indian Express earlier this year showed that almost a 50% drop in the admission of Muslim students in government pre-university colleges (PUCs) in Udupi district.

Under the constitution, donning a hijab should only be a matter of personal preference. It may or may not be a requirement for practicing one’s religion, but it is still a matter of conscience, conviction, and expression. As long as a girl chooses to wear a hijab, even in a classroom, she cannot be prohibited from doing so, according to Justice Dhulia.

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