The Karnataka Hijab Ban

A controversy about school uniforms was reported in the state of Karnataka at the beginning of January 2022, when some Muslims of a junior college who wanted to wear hijab to lessons were denied entry on the grounds and said that it was a breach of the college's uniform code. The disagreement spread to other schools and universities across the state over the next several weeks. The Karnataka government issued an order on February 5th declaring that if such dress codes exist, uniforms must be worn compulsorily and that no exceptions may be made for the wearing of the hijab. Several educational institutions have refused to admit Muslim females wearing the hijab, citing this order.

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This controversy has shown us the sad reality of the situation of Muslim women in our country. Rather than encouraging and helping them to receive a quality education, the Government and educational institutes are more concerned with denying education to hijab-wearing girls. While hijabs are being considered a violation to dress codes, wearing a turban or hand threads is a personal choice. Wearing a hijab is not just religious practice or compulsion for Muslim girls, it can be their own personal choice. Being progressive doesn’t mean hurting religious sentiments and individual choices. However, the Government fails to understand this very basic concept of modernization.

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The Hijab ban is a violation of one’s Right to Religion. Secularism and the Right to Religion should be promoted and restrictions that attack people’s religious sentiments and choices should not be encouraged. Is denying hijab-wearing girls entry into educational institutions in the name of an appropriate dress code truly a valid reason?

Authored By: Sehaj Kaur

Editing By: Pranamika Phukan