Karnataka to withdraw hijab ban today

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Mysuru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said the restrictions on wearing hijab (head scarf) in educational institutions in the state will be lifted from December 23 and observed that choice of dress and food is personal.

Speaking at the inauguration of three police stations in Nanjangud in Mysuru district, the Chief Minister said no one should indulge in vote bank politics.

Lashing out at the BJP, Siddaramaiah said, "They say 'Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas' (Cooperation of all, Development of all) but sidelining those wearing caps, burqa and sporting beard. Is this what they mean?"

When someone in the crowd asked about restrictions on wearing hijab, the CM said, "No (restrictions). You can wear Hijab. I have instructed (the officials) that there will be no restriction from tomorrow onwards. You can wear and eat whatever you want. It's up to you." "... your choices are yours and my choices are mine. it's that simple," Siddaramaiah said amid the cheering crowd. "I wear dhoti and kurta, and you wear pant and shirt. It's your choice. What's wrong in this?" he asked.

Affirming that the Congress party does not indulge in politics for votes, the chief minister said, "Congress government came to power to protect the rights of the poor, backward classes, Dalits and minorities. There is no question of compromising on this."

Referring to the five guarantees of the government in Karnataka, he said the benefits are available to people irrespective of their caste, religion and even "political ideology". "Even BJP supporters are availing the benefits and travelling in the bus free of cost. We never discriminate," he added. Hijab was banned in educational institutions in the state during the BJP regime in 2022.

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