A note signed by the principal says that six students have tested positive for the coronavirus, and that students will be expected back on campus from January 26.

The entrance to the Women’s Government Pre-University College in UdupiFile image
news Controversy Friday, January 21, 2022 - 11:17

The Women’s Government Pre-University College in Karnataka’s Udupi district, which has come to the fore after eight students were denied entry for wearing the hijab, has now announced that students will be given a holiday from Wednesday, January 21, to January 26. A note signed by the principal of the college claims that the move is due to COVID-19. The note says that six students have tested positive for the coronavirus, and because of this, all students have been given a holiday for five days. However, they are expected to be back on campus from January 26, it adds.

Eight students at the college have been barred from entering classrooms for the past three weeks for wearing the hijab. These students — out of 70 Mulsim students at the college — insist that it is their right to wear the hijab, and the incident has generated conversation in several spaces, including on national media. The eight students have been protesting since December 27, and have been marked absent from classes even though they show up at the college every day.

The girls said that they found no rule against wearing the hijab in the rulebook, and after requests from parents to the college administration yielded no effect, they began to wear the hijab. One of the students also showed TNM an old photograph, where her seniors were seen wearing it. However, school authorities maintained that no student has ever worn the hijab inside the classroom.

After the girls were barred from their classes, retaliatory protests were held at colleges in Chikkamagalur and Dakshina Kannada, where members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) wore saffron scarves inside the college. However, the girls at the Udupi college said that the saffron scarf was not part of the ABVP workers’ religion, and so could not be compared.

TNM went on the ground and spoke to the students at the centre of the controversy, college authorities, activists and students’ organisations, to get the truth. Read the whole story here: It's our right to wear hijab, don't bar us from class: Udupi students speak up

Watch: ‘It’s our right to wear hijab, don’t bar us from class’: Udupi students

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