Another government college in India, this time in Kundapur, has closed its gates to Muslim students, banning girls from wearing hijab in the classroom.
In a video which has circulated on social media, a group of young Muslim girls can be seen pleading with the school’s administration to let them enter the schools grounds. The students reportedly beg the school’s principal ‘not to ruin their future with just two months’ until their final exams.
As reported by Indian journalist Deepak Bopanna, the day prior, students assembled by ‘pro-Hindu organizations’ had come to school wrapped in Saffron shawls to protest against girls wearing hijab in the college. The next day, the college’s administration closed the school gates on girls wearing hijab, while letting Hindu students pass through.
Saffron, a colour revered in Hinduism, has become a symbol for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is sometimes referred to as the ‘Saffron Party’. Since he became prime minister in 2014, BJP leader Narendra Modi has stirred division between Hindus and Muslims, using anti-Islamic rhetoric to consolidate his base.
In response to the incident, Karnataka home minister Araga Jnanendra said that religion should be kept apart from education and students should neither come to school wearing hijab or saffron shawls.
This is at least the second recorded instance since the year started of government colleges in India banning hijab from the classroom. In mid-January, a government college in Udupi, another city in Karnataka, India banned students from wearing hijab and prohibited female students wearing hijab inside the classroom.