“We stand by Muslim girls” wearing hijab, says father of Sikh girl who was asked to remove turban

A 17-year-old Amritdhari (baptised) Sikh girl was asked by her Mount Carmel College in Karnataka’s Palace Vasanth Nagar to remove her turban in accordance with the uniform code and the Karnataka High Court’s 10 February interim order restraining students from wearing “religious clothes.”

It comes when the Karnataka High Court continues to hear petitions filed by Muslim girl students seeking protection of their right to wear hijab to classes.

The girl’s father, Gurcharan Singh, said that the incident has shocked their family.

“My daughter, Amiteshwar Kaur who is a student of PU second year and also President of the college (union) was called by the college authorities and asked her that if she could remove her Dastaar (turban) and then come to college. But on this, she politely refused to do so as she is an Amritdhari Sikh,” read a letter by Singh to Sri Guru Singh Sabha’s Administrator in Bangalore’s Ulsoor.

In the letter, Singh said that college authorities were checking for Muslim girls for removing their Hijab and later his daughter was also “singled out and was asked to remove her Dastaar (Turban). Asking a Sikh to remove his/her Dastaar (Turban) is a big insult to a Sikh and entire Sikh community.”

The Karnataka government needs to clarify on the issue, he demanded.

“We also stand by those Muslim girls/women who wants to cover their head with Scarf/Dupatta as a part of their faith and request authorities to allow them to do so as it was already practiced in our country and it does not cause any trouble to other people,” Singh further asserted.

He went on to say: “Dastaar (Turban) is an integral part of a Sikh (men and women), included in five Kakkaars, and we keep them intact with our body at all times considering them as part of our body gifted by Guru Gobind Singh Ji the Tenth Master. (sic).”

Since the last month, Muslim students in Karnataka have been protesting for their right to wear the hijab. On February 5, the Karnataka government had passed an order banning clothes that “disturb equality, integrity and public order.”

Muslim students in Karnataka have been protesting the ban on hijab in educational institutions, saying the Islamophobic move of Karnataka government violates their religious freedom guaranteed under India’s constitution.

Muslim students, activists and Opposition leaders across country allege that these attacks on Muslim symbols and practices are part of the larger Hindutva agenda of imposing majoritarian values on country’s 200 million Muslims.