BARAMULLA: The decision of the Karnataka Examination Authority to ban all forms of head cover drew criticism from different groups and politicians, including an ally of opposition bloc INDIA, the National Conference with its Vice President Omar Abdullah who termed the move of Congress government in the state “unfortunate”.
Speaking to the media persons here on Tuesday, Omar Abdullah also urged Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi to work on revoking the ban on hijab imposed by the party-led Karnataka government.
He also asked Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and senior leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to work on revoking the ban on hijab imposed by the Karnataka government.
“Why should the government interfere in this? And such orders are passed through in which Muslims are targeted. When all this used to happen in Karnataka earlier, it would not surprise us because there was the BJP government at that time. But it is sad that during Congress’ tenure, such decisions are taken. It is very unfortunate. I request Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi to reconsider the order that has been issued in Karnataka and work on revoking this order,” Omar Abdullah told reporters.
The Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) on Tuesday restricted all forms of head cover in the exam hall during recruitment exams for various boards and corporations to avoid malpractice.
Though the dress code does not explicitly ban hijab, it is implied by the new guidelines. The order said that this is part of the effort to stop exam malpractices using Bluetooth devices.
Earlier on November 6, a woman appearing for the Karnataka Public Service Commission examination was asked to remove her ‘mangalsutra’ before entering the exam hall.
After protests by Hindutva groups, the KEA has now allowed women to wear mangalasutra and toe rings in the examination hall while restricting other jewellery.
The recruitment exams of various boards and corporations are to be held on November 18 and 19 across the state.
Earlier in October, the Karnataka government had allowed students to wear the Hijab, during competitive exams. The Higher Education Minister MC Sudhakar had allowed aspirants to come to examination centres wearing the Hijab sparking off protests by right-wing groups.
However, after complaints about usage of Bluetooth devices by certain students the state government this time decided to enforce the ban.
The State government had on November 11 ordered a probe by the state CID into an incident where candidates at Kalaburagi and Yadgir examination centres allegedly used Bluetooth devices for writing the exams conducted by the KEA in October 2023.
The exam dress code restricts girls from wearing high-heeled shoes, jeans and T-shirts, while men are permitted to wear half-sleeve shirts that are not tucked into their trousers.
In 2022, the Supreme Court had upheld the Karnataka government’s decision to ban the Hijab in classrooms that came under the state.
The State government had at the time also extended this order to other Board exams like Class X and XII as well as the Common Entrance Test conducted by the KEA.