Onus of maintaining peace, harmony lies on Bommai govt: Cong after hijab verdict
New Delhi, Mar 15: After the Karnataka High Court dismissed petitions challenging the state government's restriction on wearing of hijab in schools and colleges, the Congress on Tuesday said the onus of ensuring education of the girl child and maintaining peace and harmony lies on the BJP government led by Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai.
Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Karnataka government should ensure that none is allowed to vitiate the atmosphere in schools and colleges and peace is not sacrificed for BJP's agenda of polarisation on communal lines.
He said the matter is pending before the Supreme Court and all should await its verdict. "Post judgement of Karnataka High Court, the onus of ensuring education of the girl child and maintaining peace and harmony in educational institutions remains the responsibility of Bommai Government. The issue is pending in Supreme Court and everyone should await the verdict," he said on Twitter.
"Karnataka Government has to ensure - No person or religious group, be it the Bajrang Dal or SDPI or PFI, be permitted to vitiate the environment of Schools and Colleges in Karnataka. Initiate steps for attendance of girl child in schools and colleges, irrespective of religion. "Karnataka Government has to recognise that - 'Dharma' of imparting scientific and modern education to all children isn’t abandoned at the altar of political expediency.
Peaceful atmosphere and communal amity is not sacrificed for BJP's agenda of polarising the State on communal lines," Surjewala also said. Karnakata Congress president DK Shivakumar said his greatest concern in the hijab controversy is education, and law and order. "The Karnataka High Court has given a judgement but the responsibility for education, law and order and communal harmony is still with the government of Karnataka.
"I appeal to the Government of Karnataka to show mature leadership and ensure : That law and order is maintained in and around schools and colleges. That the education of students is not hampered, regardless of religion and gender. That there is communal harmony," Shivakumar said.
Congress spokesperson Shama Mohamed said she fails to understand how, wearing a hijab (scarf over the head) violates the uniform of a school/college. "What happened to the fundamental rights written in our constitution," she asked. "In a secular democratic country like India,every woman has the right to wear what she feels comfortable in.
No one should dictate to women what they can &cannot wear. In schools, colour co-ordinated head-scarves should be allowed as uniform. Why not allow women the choice," she said on Twitter. Earlier, the Karnataka High Court said hijab was not part of the essential religious practice in Islamic faith and effectively upheld the ban against the headscarf in educational institutions in the state by dismissing pleas from Muslim girls seeking nod to wear it in classrooms.
A three-judge full bench of the high court said the prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction, constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to. While the Karnataka government urged everyone to abide by the order, saying education was primary, Muslim students' body Campus Front of India (CFI) protested against the "anti-constitutional order" and vowed to take all efforts to protect constitutional and individual rights.
The government also said it will make attempts to "win the hearts" of the "misguided" Muslim girls. Six girl students of a college in Udupi had attended a press conference held by the CFI in the coastal town in January, protesting against the college authorities denying them entry into the classroom wearing hijab. PTI