BENGALURU — Muslim girls and women continue to face harassment even a year after the hijab controversy, revealed a report released by the People’s Unionfor Civil Liberties – Karnataka (PUCL-K).
A PUCL-K team visited five districts in the state – Raichur, Udupi, Hassan, Shivamogga and Dakshina Kannada – and interview students, faculty and district authorities.
The report titled ‘Closing the Gates of Education: Violations of Rights of Muslim Women Students’, mentioned that students have alleged they continue to face harassment from college administrations, with many compelled to shift from government to minority institutions.
“Students from marginalised communities, religious minorities, and Adivasis have repeatedly shared their experiences of discrimination in classrooms and how it adversely affects their self-confidence, and inhibits their aspirations for higher studies and sense of freedom. A divided and discriminatory educational space directly galvanises the establishment of a further divided society,” the report stated.
“I left my college and searched for other colleges that allowed girls to wear hijab. There was free education in government colleges but in my new college, the travel expense is high. I wanted to pursue MSc, which is not possible now. It feels that my dreams are now shattered,” a student who was interview said.
The controversy had forced many to look for support from their own communities.
“In rural Udupi, a student said that since there was a sudden change in the attitude of their neighbours and friends, many Muslim women sought support from within their community,” the report stated.
The swelling presence of police on campuses, unwarranted confrontation with male students, who had threatened to kill or abuse them in social media, have made girl uncomfortable.
“They said they wanted to punish and kill us. Many students come and pick fights without reason. We wrote to the principal, requesting intervention, but the principal refused,” the report quoted students. — (Agencies)