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CPI-M leader urges Education Minister Pradhan to intervene in Karnataka hijab row

New Delhi : Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Elamaram Kareem has written to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan urging him to intervene "on unfortunate incidents happening in Karnataka" saying that Muslim girl students in Udupi are being "deprived of their right to attend classes" for wearing Hijab. "You may kindly note the fact that an unnecessary controversy is being created in the state with an intention to make communal polarisation" CPI(M) MP alleged in his letter. He said the issue began with some government educational institutions in the Udupi district not allowing the students wearing Hijab from entering the campus. "This has resulted in widespread protest among the Muslim community. Till now the Muslim girls were wearing the headscarves without any objection. It was disallowed saying that they are not following the common dress code," the letter said. "It is completely a misleading statement. The students have been wearing Hijab along with the uniform for so many years. In some educational institutions, the colour of the headscarf is also prescribed for the students to follow uniformity in the dress code. In other words, for decades there was no controversy. This is being deliberately manufactured to cause division and arouse communal sentiments," the Rajya Sabha MP said.He said it was expected that the state government will take initiatives to curb this fuming controversy by retaining the status quo, but the same has not happened. "I would request you not to deprive Muslim girls of their right to education and their right to attend classes by wearing headscarves as they have been doing till this controversy erupted," he said. "The right of students to attend classes should be the primary concern and it should be protected at any cost. Any move to spread hatred and division among the people should also be dealt with stringent measures. In this scenario, I am requesting your urgent intervention on this matter," he added. The Hijab protests began on February 4 at the Government Girls PU college in Udupi district when some students alleged that they had been barred from attending classes. Protests have erupted in several parts of Karnataka. Following these protests, a three-day holiday from February 9 has been declared in all the universities under the Department of Higher Education and colleges under the department of Collegiate and Technical Education (DCTE) in the state.

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