‘Hijab ban’ sparks controversy in Indian state of Karnataka

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NEW DELHI, Dec 23, (Agencies): A verbal clash erupted between the BJP and the Congress in Karnataka over the lifting of restrictions on hijab (headscarf) in educational institutions.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s announcement to revoke the order, initially imposed by the BJP government in 2022, has sparked controversy.

Union Minister Giriraj Singh claimed that lifting the hijab ban would result in the “establishment of Sharia law” in the state. He alleged that if the Opposition came to power, “Islamic law would be implemented” nationwide.

Former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai accused Siddaramaiah of engaging in vote-bank politics to secure minority votes in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. He asserted that hijab is a dress code issue and criticized the move as a ploy for vote bank politics.

BS Yediyurappa, former Chief Minister and senior BJP leader, accused Siddaramaiah of making the statement to lift the hijab ban “to appease Muslims” and called for a withdrawal of the decision.

In response, the Congress defended the move, emphasizing that it was executed under the rule of law and urged against politicizing the issue. State minister Priyank Kharge emphasized the importance of adhering to the Constitution and stated that any law or policy detrimental to Karnataka’s progress would be addressed.

State minister Madhu Bangarappa highlighted the inclusive nature of the state’s education policy and indicated a discussion with Siddaramaiah over the matter. He emphasized that the decision was not politically motivated and would be examined for its legality.

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