Even as the row over ‘hijab’ (scarf) in educational institutions has gripped Karnataka, a video has surfaced on social media allegedly showing some students in the district of Bagalkote performing ‘namaz’ (prayers) in the school.
Six students were seen performing namaz at a school in Bagalkote district. A few parents objected to the practice alleging that the school authorities permitted it to happen on the school premises. The principal of the school told reporters in Ilkal that the students were directed not to perform any ‘Namaz’ on the campus.
”There are 232 students in the school. At the time of serving lunch, four students, means four girls from sixth standard, without my knowledge or any teacher performed Namaz. Hence, today we told them not to do Namaz and if at all you want you do it at home,” she said.
Earlier, a video clip of the students allegedly offering ‘namaz’ in the classroom of a government primary school in Dakshina Kannada went viral.
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The incident that occurred on February four came to light when the clip was widely shared in the social media and the local people raised objections.
Following complaints, officials of the Education Department visited the school on Friday. The teachers there said they had ordered the students to not engage in religious activities in the classroom.
The Department had directed its resource person to visit the school and submit a report on the incident immediately, Block Education Officer (BEO) C Lokesh said. Later, Lokesh said the issue was resolved at a meeting between the school authorities, students and their parents today. The BEO, who attended the meeting, said the parents have promised that such activities will not be repeated by their children inside the school premises.
On January 24, namaz by a few students in a government school at Mulbagal town in Kolar led to tension in the area. Parents of other students, alumni of the school and a few members of a caste organisation staged a protest in a school at Someshwarapalya for setting a new precedent of allowing Friday prayers. The trigger was a viral video, which showed the students offering Friday prayers in a classroom.
The row over hijab versus saffron scarves on the high school and college campuses in certain parts of the State had resulted in tension, untoward incidents and even taken a violent turn at some places. The controversy had started towards December-end when a few women students in hijabs were denied entry into a college in Udupi. As a counter, some students turned up wearing saffron scarves.
On January 1, six girl students of a college in Udupi attended a press conference held by Campus Front of India (CFI) in the coastal town protesting against the college authorities denying them entry into the classroom by wearing hijab. This was four days after they requested the principal permission to wear hijabs in classes which was not allowed. Till then, students used to wear the hijab to the campus and entered the classroom after removing the scarves.
“The institution did not have any rule on hijab-wearing as such and since no one used to wear it to the classroom in the last 35 years. The students who came with the demand had the backing of outside forces,” the college principal Rudre Gowda had said. Karnataka Minister V Sunil Kumar had alleged that the Congress is behind raking up the hijab issue for political gains. This was echoed by Udupi MLA K Raghupati Bhat who said Congress is worried about the growth of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in the region and wants to appease the minorities.