Days after Government PU College in Udupi stopped female Muslim students from attending classes on the ground that they wear a hijab, a writ petition has been filed in the Karnataka High Court by a Muslim girl student, seeking a declaration that wearing a hijab is a Fundamental Right guaranteed under Article 14 and 25 of the Constitution of India and is an essential practise of Islam.
The government college has continued to deny Muslim students entry to its premises and classes even after several complaints, the plea by Resham stated.
The freedom of conscience and the right to religion are both guaranteed by the Constitution, she said.
“The college has curtailed the right to education of the petitioner on the sole ground of religion is smacked with malfides, discriminatory and politically motivated. By doing so the state government has failed in its duty to realise the right to human development by denying the petitioner her education,” read the plea.
“Protection under Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution is not limited to the matters of doctrine. They also extend to acts done in furtherance of religion and therefore they contain a guarantee for rituals and observances, ceremonies and mode of worship, which are integral part of the religion,” it stated.
Resham said she and other girl students were singled out arbitrarily for belonging to the Islamic faith by college authorities.
“The manner in which the respondent college has ousted the petitioner not only creates a stigma amongst her batchmates but among the children of the entire college which in turn will affect the mental health as well as future prospects of the petitioner,” the petition stated.
“Taking away the practice of wearing the Hijab from women who profess the Islamic faith, results in a fundamental change is the character of the Islamic religion. For this reason, the practice of wearing the Hijab constitutes as an essential and integral part of Islam,” the plea further said.
On 1 January, Maktoob reported that the Muslim girls at a government-run women’s college in Udupi were not allowed to sit in the classroom because they were wearing the hijab, or headscarf.
Since then, the Muslim students have sat outside their classroom, protesting the Islamophobic and unconstitutional approach of college authorities.