Karnataka govt may withdraw circular banning hijab, warns of RSS ban

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BENGALURU: In a significant development, the Congress government in Karnataka is reportedly contemplating the withdrawal of a circular issued by the state’s primary and secondary education department that prohibits the wearing of hijabs in schools and pre-university colleges across the state. The potential move comes after widespread criticism and concerns raised by various sections of society.

The circular, which came into effect recently, drew sharp criticism from several quarters, including members of the Muslim community and human rights organizations, who argued that it infringed upon the rights of individuals to practice their religious beliefs. They claimed that such a ban was discriminatory and a violation of religious freedom.

Responding to the growing uproar, the government has now indicated its willingness to review and reconsider the circular. If the withdrawal is implemented, it would allow students to exercise their right to wear hijabs as an expression of their religious identity within the educational institutions.

While the Karnataka government is yet to make an official announcement regarding the withdrawal, sources indicate that the authorities have taken note of the concerns raised and are actively engaging with stakeholders to find a balanced solution. The move is seen as an attempt to address the grievances and ensure inclusivity within the state’s educational system.

However, it is worth noting that the reported consideration of withdrawing the circular has sparked a contrasting reaction from right-wing organizations, including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). These groups have warned of potential consequences if the ban on hijabs is lifted, suggesting that they may call for a ban on RSS-related activities in response.

The polarization of opinions on the issue has further intensified the ongoing debate. Advocates for religious freedom argue that individuals should have the right to practice their faith without facing undue restrictions, while opponents contend that educational institutions should adhere to uniform dress codes to promote a sense of equality and unity among students.

The Congress government’s potential decision to withdraw the circular banning hijabs could have far-reaching implications. It may serve as a catalyst for discussions and reforms surrounding religious freedom, dress codes, and the balance between individual rights and institutional regulations in educational settings.

As the issue continues to evolve, it remains to be seen how the Karnataka government will navigate the complex landscape of religious and cultural sensitivities while ensuring inclusivity and upholding the principles of secularism.

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