Karnataka Hijab Row: BJP Smells Vote Bank Politics, Terms Ban Lift 'Establishment Of Sharia Law'

Coming down heavily on Congress for the decision to lift the Hijab ban in Karnataka, Union Minister Giriraj Singh alleged this will lead to the 'establishment of Sharia law' in the state.

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Following Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's yesterday's announcement on the withdrawal of the Hijab ban in the state, a fresh political slugfest erupted in Karnataka on Saturday. Yesterday,  the chief minister announced the lifting of restrictions on hijab (headscarf) in educational institutions in the state.

Addressing an event on Friday, the Karnataka chief minister said, “We will be withdrawing the ban on hijab, which was imposed by the previous BJP government. An official order will come soon regarding it.”

 “What to wear and what to eat is a personal choice. Why should the government obstruct such issues? Wear what you want and eat what you feel like. I wear Dhoti and you wear shirt with pants. What is wrong with that?” asked the chief minister.

Back in 2022, the order was brought in by the previous BJP government.

BJP smells Muslim appeasement

Coming down heavily on Congress for the decision, Union Minister Giriraj Singh alleged this will lead to the "establishment of Sharia law" in the state. Moreover, ahead of the parliament elections in 2024, he also pointed out the possibility of implementation of Islamic law in the country if the Opposition was voted to power.

According to Singh, "This is not merely the lifting of the ban on hijab but the establishment of Sharia law in the state. If Rahul Gandhi, Congress and INDIA bloc form the government in the country, then Islamic law will be implemented. This is a well-planned conspiracy to destroy Sanatana Dharma." 

Former CM Basavaraj Bommai alleged Siddaramaiah was doing vote-bank politics ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

"Nobody has demanded to withdraw this hijab decision. To appease the Muslims, Siddaramaiah has said this. He should withdraw his statement," he said.

Congress retaliates

Retaliating to the BJP's scathing attacks, Congress maintained that the move was being done under the rule of law and suggested that others should refrain from politicizing the issue.

Minister Priyank Kharge, who is also the son of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, said, "I don't think the BJP is aware of the Constitution. They should read the Constitution. Any law or policy which is not good for Karnataka's progress won't be overlooked. If required, we will remove that law or rule." 

State minister Madhu Bangarappa said, "It has nothing to do with any kind of politics. The state's education policy is inclusive of culture, studies and other things. The BJP will not speak about what progress they have made. Our Chief Minister will certainly have a look and explore the legality issues for such matters."

About the Hijab row

The hijab controversy in Karnataka first surfaced in January 2022 when six students of the Government Pre-University (PU) College in Udupi accused the institute’s administration of not allowing them to enter the premises while wearing the hijab.This led to the demonstration of protest by the Muslim girls outside the institute after being denied entry.

Retaliating to this incident, several Hindu students also started attending classes wearing saffron shawls in several educational institutions.

On March 15 last year, the Karnataka High Court declared that wearing the hijab was not mandatory in Islam and upheld the executive order. The students moved the Supreme Court, which split a verdict on the issue. The matter is slated to be heard by a larger bench.

Back in October of this year, hinting at a revocation of the ban, the Congress-led government allowed students to wear hijab during competitive exams.