Karnata Hijab Row: Refusing To Let Girls Go To Schools In Hijab Is Horrifying Says, Malala Yousafzai

New Delhi: Refusing to let girls go to school in their hijabs is “horrifying”, human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai said, condemning the row over the use of hijab by Muslim girls in classrooms in Karnataka.

“Refusing to let girls go to school in their hijabs is horrifying. Objectification of women persists — for wearing less or more. Indian leaders must stop the marginalisation of Muslim women,” Malala Yousafzai tweeted on Tuesday.

Protests for and against the hijab intensified at colleges in different parts of Karnataka with the state government announcing the closure of all high schools and colleges for three days.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday appealed for calm.

Parallel protests took place outside several colleges in Karnataka, with pro-hijab groups protesting against the restrictions imposed on Muslim girls and anti-hijab groups, mainly comprising of right-wing outfits, distributing saffron shawls to several Hindu students.

The controversy erupted last month after students at a government-run pre-university college in Karnataka’s Udupi were told not to wear hijabs, an edict that soon spread to other educational institutions in the state.

The aggrieved students, who began camping outside the college as a mark of protest, said it was their “constitutional right” to wear the hijab. One of the protesting girls said even though the college is only for female students, some of the professors teaching them are male, and therefore, they should be allowed to use the hijab in the classrooms as well.

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday began hearing a petition by five girls studying in the Government Pre-University College in Udupi, challenging the ban on headscarves imposed inside classrooms. The court adjourned before issuing a ruling.

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