The students are yet to take a decision on approaching the Supreme Court over the issue.

Udupi students who went to High Court on hijab address press meet, pledge to continue legal fight after HC verdict Five Udupi students who went to High Court on hijab address press meet
news Hijab Row Tuesday, March 15, 2022 - 20:29

Hours after the Karnataka High Court verdict upheld the hijab ban, the petitioners from Udupi district who moved the court said that they will continue their legal fight to wear the hijab in the classroom.

Addressing Reporters in Udupi after the High Court's decision was announced, Aliya Assadi, one of the six petitioners said: "I will fight for this in every legal way possible. All of us have the same opinion that we won't be going to college without wearing the hijab." The petitioners, however, are yet to confirm if they will approach the Supreme Court over the issue. 

Aliya's classmate Almas AH, who is also a petitioner, said that they consider the hijab as an essential practice in Islam as it is mentioned in the Quran. "I have to say that it is important in our religion that we have to wear the hijab. The Quran says that every woman should wear a veil and that their head and chest should be covered," Almas said. The High Court in its judgement had said that the hijab is not an essential practice in Islam.

Read: Hijab verdict: Why Karnataka High Court held it is not an essential religious practice

"We had so much hope in our judicial system, in our society and our constitutional values, but we are feeling like we have been betrayed," Aliya said. 

Responding to questions from reporters on whether the girls would choose religion or education, Almas AH said that she gives equal priority to both religion and education, "Why is the media bringing in this question to choose between uniform or education? Is uniform important for them more than our education? They (the state government) are the ones making us illiterate, they are the ones who want to push us out, they are the ones who are not allowing us to study," Almas said.

Both Aliya and Almas termed the High Court decision ‘unconstitutional’ and said they will not be attending their college without wearing the hijab. "The verdict which came today is unconstitutional because the Constitution provides us the right to follow my religion, and whatever I can wear," Aliya said.

Also read:

Reading the judgment: Why Karnataka HC dismissed pleas against hijab ban

Explained: After hijab verdict, here's who can decide whether headscarf allowed

The girls are backed by the student organisation Campus Front of India (CFI), which echoed the sentiments expressed by them. "The High Court verdict on the hijab ban is unconstitutional and unacceptable. Karnataka High Court has given a judgement and not justice. It violates individual rights. We will stand with the students who are fighting for their rights," said Usman Fathima, a state committee member of CFI in Karnataka. 

The Muslim Okkoota, a coalition of Muslim organisations in Udupi, has also criticised the High Court's decision. "This verdict is unsatisfactory. There is dissatisfaction among the members of the Okkoota about this. We will be discussing this within the organisation and decide the next step of approaching the Supreme Court," said Idrees Hoode, a senior member of the Muslim Okkoota.

The controversy over allowing the hijab in the classroom in Karnataka erupted in December 2021 when students of Women's Government Pre-University College in Udupi, where Aliya and Almas study, approached the college principal seeking permission to wear the hijab in the classroom. Six students from the college then approached the Karnataka High Court over the issue on January 31. These six girls have not attended classes or written their final examinations since the conflict began.

Read: Parents of Muslim girl students in a bind over Karnataka HC verdict on hijab

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