Controversial Hijab Decision from Karnataka High Court
Recent decisions by the Chief Minister may or may not have an effect globally, but in Udupi district it has had an immediate and far-reaching effect. A report shows that since a High Court order regarding hijab use by Muslim students decreased by more than 50%; as a result many have turned to private PUCs instead.
According to The Indian Express report, the number of Muslim students entering Class 11 at all pre-university colleges in Udupi for both years (1296 in 2021-22 and 1320 in 2022-23) is almost equivalent. Admissions into government colleges has seen a marked decrease – in 2021-22 there were 388 Muslim admissions while only 186 in 2022-23.
Gender Disparities in Admissions
Gender statistics are even more startling: only 91 Muslim female students were admitted to government colleges this year compared to 178 last year, while 95 boys outnumbered the number admitted last year (compared to 210), leading all Muslim students being accepted to private institutions instead.
This year, 927 students have been accepted into private colleges compared to 662 last year. Both Muslim boys and girls admission rates increased; this year 440 versus 334 got admitted, and 487 Muslim girl admissions this year as opposed to just 328 last year.
Debate Over Hijab Origins: Origins of Hijab Debate
Karnataka’s Hijab Disputation Began in Udupi on December 31, 2021 when six female students wearing hijabs were prevented from entering classes at a government PU college, prompting protests. After lengthy debate on this issue, girl students demanded they be permitted to come only wearing their hijab but administration denied this request.
After several days of protests and hearings, the High Court took up the matter and rendered its judgement: that hijab wear is not religiously obligatory so cannot be worn in educational institutions; furthermore, the Court authorized government action in this matter.
However, the matter was further escalated to the Supreme Court where two-judge bench gave a split verdict and sent it back for further consideration by larger bench. While that larger bench deliberates upon this matter, Karnataka High Court’s verdict will remain in force pending their decision.