The Karnataka High Court upheld its ban on Hijab on Tuesday, saying that “wearing of Hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith.” Muslim women wearing Hijab has also emerged as a political flashpoint in Western nations.
The court in its ruling said the state government had the power to prescribe uniform guidelines for students as a “reasonable restriction on fundamental rights.”
The Hijab ban, beyond India’s borders:
A blanket ban on Burqas in public places was first introduced in France, banning face coverings including masks, helmets, balaclavas, niqabs, and other veils. In 2004, France banned the Hijab in schools.
Burqas have also faced a crackdown worldwide. China restricted individuals from wearing Burqas in 2017. Additionally, people who wore headscarves and veils with a crescent moon and a star were prohibited from using public transport, according to media reports.
Sri Lankan authorities temporarily banned people from wearing Burqas in 2019 after a suicide bomb attack that killed more than 200 people. The ban was later made permanent in April 2021, citing “national security concerns.”
Other countries that have restricted some form of Islamic religious clothing include Austria, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Bulgaria.
The story of India’s recent Hijab row:
The dispute began in January when a government-run school in Karnataka’s Udupi district barred students wearing Hijab from entering classrooms, triggering protests by Muslim students who said they were being deprived of their fundamental rights to education and religion. That led to counterprotests by Hindu students.
More schools in the state imposed similar bans and the state’s top court disallowed students from wearing hijab and any religious clothing pending a verdict.