Impact of hijab controversy: Over 1,000 Muslim girls dropped out; Report

There has been a negative impact of the hijab ban on Muslim girl students in Karnataka as over 1,000 Muslim girls dropped out due to that. The situation was disclosed by a report released by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Karnataka unit (PUCL-K).

The report entitled ‘Closing the Gates to Education: Violations of Rights of Muslim Women Students in Karnataka’ revealed that a total of 1,010 hijab-wearing girls dropped out of PU colleges “because of the hijab ban and other reasons as well”.

The report observed that in the aftermath of the hijab ban, students were forced to remove their hijab before entering college premises. Those who continued their education in the same colleges faced many challenges.

The report also examines the role of college authorities and administrative and police officials with respect to the ban. According to the PUCL report, Muslim girl students faced humiliation and harassment in classrooms at the hands of the faculty, college administration, and classmates.

The report noted that besides actively prevented from accessing their right to education, Muslim women students also bore the brunt of a climate of hate, hostility, and misinformation.

The study covered five Karnataka districts – Hassan, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Shimoga, and Raichur. Alleging that Hindutva organisations carried out a vilification campaign against hijab-wearing students, the PUCL also highlighted the inaction of the government and the police who gave implicit encouragement to such fundamentalist forces.

The PUCL concluded that the government has failed to fulfill its obligation to uphold Article 41 of the Constitution (effective provision for securing the right to education).

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