Kolkata university students take out rally in support of Hijab-wearing women of Karnataka

Muslim students display placards during a protest against the recent hijab row in Karnataka, at Aliah University in Kolkata on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

Kolkata: Nearly 500 students of Kolkata's Aliah University on Wednesday took out a rally in Park Circus area, with many women wearing hijab, amid a row over sporting the headscarf in Karnataka.

The participants, carrying the national flag, travelled around Entally and Park Circus before returning to their campus.

"As citizens of India, we have the right to decide what we wear and the right to follow our own religious practises, read placards in Bengali, English and Hindi held by the students, referring to the controversial developments in the southern state over wearing hijab.

Down with right-wing forces that want us to go back to the medieval ages," texts on some other posters read.

Incidents of stone-pelting and use of force by police were reported in Karnataka on Tuesday, as the hijab ban row escalated and protests by students spread to more colleges, prompting the state government to declare a three-day holiday for all educational institutions.

The hijab controversy first erupted in January at a government PU College in Udupi, where six students who attended classes wearing the headscarf in violation of the stipulated dress code were asked to leave the campus. The row has spread to different parts of the state with Hindu students responding by turning up in saffron shawls.

It has also taken a political colour, as the ruling BJP has stood strongly in support of the uniform-related rules being enforced by educational institutions, calling the headscarf, a religious symbol, while the opposition Congress has come out in support of Muslim girls.

There was no untoward incident as the rally in Kolkata covered a distance of around 2 km, a police officer said.

We have nothing to comment on developments taking place outside the campus," a varsity spokesperson added.

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