Hijab ban row: BJP's 'Sharia law' jab at Congress, Karnataka minister hits back

A war-of-words broke out between the BJP and the Congress in Karnataka after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced that the government will lift an order that required some Muslim women to wear hijab in educational institutions.
Hijab ban row: BJP's 'Sharia law' jab at Congress, Karnataka minister hits back
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

A controversy erupted in Karnataka after the Congress-led government led by Siddaramaiah announced the lifting of restrictions on hijab (headscarf) in educational institutions in the state. The order was brought in by the previous BJP government in 2022.


"This is not merely the lifting of the ban on hijab but the establishment of Sharia law in the state. If Rahul Gandhi, Congress and INDIA bloc form the government in the country, then Islamic law will be implemented. This is a well-planned conspiracy to destroy Sanatana Dharma," Singh told reporters.

Former Chief Minister and senior BJP leader BS Yediyurappa alleged that Siddaramaiah made the statement to lift the ban on wearing hijab "to appease Muslims".

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Hijab ban row: BJP's 'Sharia law' jab at Congress, Karnataka minister hits back

"Nobody has demanded to withdraw this hijab decision. To appease the Muslims, Siddaramaiah has said this. He should withdraw his statement," he said.

Yediyurappa's son and Karnataka BJP chief BY Vijayendra hit out at Siddaramaiah, saying the decision to withdraw the hijab ban in educational institutions "raised concerns about the secular nature of our educational spaces".


"I don't think the BJP is aware of the Constitution. They should read the Constitution. Any law or policy which is not good for Karnataka's progress won't be overlooked. If required, we will remove that law or rule," said state minister Priyank Kharge, who is the son of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge.

State minister Madhu Bangarappa said he would have a discussion with Siddaramaiah over the issue, following which the latter will "take things forward".

"It has nothing to do with any kind of politics. The state's education policy is inclusive of culture, studies and other things. The BJP will not speak about what progress they have made. Our Chief Minister will certainly have a look and explore the legality issues for such matters," he said.

Another state minister, HK Patil, hit out at the BJP and asked whether being secular amounted to appeasement.

"The Chief Minister has made a statement. He knows the law. He also knows our earlier stand. Our line of thinking of the Chief Minister is the line of thinking of the Congress party. The BJP doesn't know anything," he said.

In October of this year, the government allowed students to wear hijab during competitive exams, hinting at a revocation of the ban order.

In February 2022, a government college in Udupi banned the hijab inside classrooms, and many other institutions followed suit. Later, the then Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government issued an order to ban hijab inside campuses, stating that "any clothing that would disturb equality, integrity, and public law and order" will not be allowed.

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Hijab ban row: BJP's 'Sharia law' jab at Congress, Karnataka minister hits back

The order had led to multiple protests and counter-protests, leading to the closure of institutions in the state. The matter reached the Supreme Court, which pronounced a split verdict on October 13. The division bench then requested the Chief Justice to refer the matter to a larger bench, and it is pending before the Supreme Court.

Source: India Today

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