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Women protests in Kuwait, US as Hijab-clad Muslim students denied entry in Indian colleges

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NEW DEHLI: Muslim students have been denied entry into pre-university colleges in the southern Indian state of Karnataka as they were asked to remove their hijab before entering classes. While dozens of women in Kuwait

Students refused to remove their headscarves in the Shivamogga city and preferred missing class instead, according to Indian state run news agency.

The colleges in India reopened on Wednesday after they remained closed for a week amid the dispute over the hijab ban.

Footages shared on social media showed students at various colleges in Karnataka were being asked to remove their hijabs to attend classes, with most of them refusing to do so.

Last week, the Karnataka High Court blocked students from wearing religious garments until it makes a final ruling on the matter.

A three-judge panel has been hearing the case again since Monday to decide if schools and colleges can order students not to wear the hijab in classrooms.

“College authorities are not allowing us inside the college. They are asking us to remove the hijab and burqa. We are Muslims, how can we remove it? It’s our pride, we will wear it, and we do not care about our lives,” a student said. 

“According to me, it’s my decision to wear a hijab, we have been wearing this since our childhood. This is a part of us,” Farzana, a student at Dr. G Shankar Government Women’s First Grade College said. 

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai said on Wednesday that the court order applies to institutions that have dress code.

“The order doesn’t apply to where there is no dress code,” he said in a statement.

A group of Muslim women filed petitions against the government order banning the hijab on college premises. 

The hijab ban protests erupted after a college in Karnataka told students to take off their headscarves inside the classroom.

Those protesting the move cited the Constitution that allows Indians to wear clothes of their choice and display religious symbols.

Meanwhile, India on Tuesday accused the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) of harbouring a “communal mindset” after the Islamic bloc expressed “deep concerns” over the ongoing hijab ban and recent calls for genocide of Muslims by far-right Hindu groups close to ruling BJP government in India.

“Issues in India are considered and resolved in accordance with our constitutional framework and mechanisms, as well as democratic ethos and polity,” the Indian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The communal mindset of the OIC Secretariat does not allow for a proper appreciation of these realities.”

Dozens of women from the Islamic Constitutional Movement in Kuwait protested outside the Indian embassy in Kuwait City on Wednesday against a ban on the wearing of hijab in a region of India.

“All governments, human rights defenders, and all those who believe in the right of every person to practice their religion must stand united against these practices. There are 200 million Muslims in India and they have the right to practice their religion as they see fit,” shared one protester.

Muslim women and men, mostly Arab, also gathered in front of Indian Embassy, Washington to register a protest against Hijab in schools and collages in the Indian state of Karnataka last week. 

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