Hijab banned in Indian city, Muslim students protest

MANGALURU: The row over hijabs in colleges is back in Mangaluru. On Saturday, students, parents and activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) protested in front of the Srinivas College of Pharmacy, Valachil campus after the college administration banned first-year Muslim women students from wearing the hijab (headscarf) in class and their male counterparts from sporting long beards.

HijabProtesters alleged that such rules are an attempt by college authorities to curb religious rights. They also expressed their dissatisfaction against the college for not increasing the duration of the lunch break on Friday to allow Muslim students attend prayers. Following a discussion with students, parents and activists, the management representatives sought two weeks to sort out the issue.

A first-year B.Pharma student said while seniors were allowed to wear the hijab, her classmates were barred from wearing it. The administration said that in declaration signed by students during first-year admission agreed to the dress code on campus. The code restricts head scarves, jeans and T-shirts in classrooms, examination halls, office and library. PFI activists alleged that college principal A R Shabaraya and fac ulty EV S Subrahmanyam insist that students do not wear the hijab.

A Srinivas Rao, vice-president, A Shama Rao Foundation and Srinivas Group of Colleges, he said the rule banning headscarf among Muslim women students was implemented as the Foundation believed in a “uniform dress code”. The administration asked students to offer prayers during lunch time or free time and not whenever they desired.”Time-tables are framed according to rules of the university and we do not have the authority to modify them according to our whims and fancies,” he said.

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