"Clothing is an individual choice": Siddaramaiah says ban on hijab to be lifted in Karnataka

Imposed by the previous BJP government, the ban was questioned by students in the High Court and had divided them among communal lines.

Representative image of students wearing hijab (photo: IANS)
Representative image of students wearing hijab (photo: IANS)


In a move that may spark major controversy, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday, 22 December, announced that he has asked for lifting on the ban on hijab for students and pre-university college students in the state as clothing is a matter of individual choice.

"PM Modi's "sab ka saath sab ka vikas" is bogus. BJP is into dividing people and society on the basis of clothes, dress, and caste.

"All can wear hijab and go to schools and colleges. I have asked to revert the decision of the government in this regard banning the hijab.

"Dressing and food habits are your concerns. Why should I trouble you? You wear whichever dress you want to. You eat whatever you want. It is your right to consume food of your choice. Whatever I eat is my right. I am clad in dhoti and jubba. If you want to wear a pant, you can. What is wrong with this? It is wrong to carry out politics for votes. Our government will work for the poor. There is no question of getting deviated in this regard. There is no question of compromise. You should not stand with those who lie and indulge in cheating," he said after inaugurating the newly constructed Kavalande, Antarsante and Jayapura police stations in Nanjangudu constituency of Mysuru.

The previous BJP government has imposed ban on the wearing of hijab along with school and pre-university (class 11 and 12) college female students.

The move was questioned by the students in the High Court and the court had upheld the decision of the government. The matter is presently in the Supreme Court.

The issue had also divided society, especially students, on communal lines across the state and also made news at international level.

The Congress had announced that it would lift the ban on hijab when they came to power.

Siddaramaiah also said that rich and the powerful are still acting with impunity.

"They are under the delusion that money can purchase the police force and this should not be allowed. Economy can develop only if law and order is good. All officers should understand that people are our masters.

"Protection of civil rights is the duty of the police department. Some sneak under the rug to break the law. This should not be allowed," the CM said.

Siddaramaiah opined that police force will be respected, if police stations are made people-friendly and officials use civilised language. He suggested that, If the intelligence department is proactive, crime can be prevented before it occurs. No illegal activities can take place without the knowledge of the police officers. Police should not sit in the police station and write, instead they should go to the spot, he added.

He said that his government planned programmes that benefit people of all castes and religions but also all parties.

"Does BJP want people not getting 10 kg of rice? Are they not traveling in buses for free? Are they not getting Griha Jyoti, Grilahakshmi benefit?"

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