Hijab is unnecessary, says Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan

Governor Arif Mohammad Khan
Governor Arif Mohammad Khan

Thiruvananthapuram: Amid the row over wearing hijab in schools and other educational institutions in Karnataka, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Friday said there were instances of women refusing to wear the veil when one traces the history of Islam.

He was replying to a question regarding his stand on the ongoing hijab row in the neighbouring state.

Though he did not elaborate his point, Khan narrated the story of a young woman, said to be a relative of the Holy Prophet, to prove his point.

"I will tell you just one quote... A young girl, who was brought up in the household of the Prophet himself... and she was the niece of the wife of the Holy Prophet. She was proverbially beautiful...," he said. "This is what history says... read it," Khan told reporters.

Quoting the story, he said when the woman's husband was the then Governor of Kufa in medieval times, she was chided for not wearing a hijab.

What she said was that God had made her beautiful and the almighty had placed His stamp of beauty on her, the Governor said.

"She said I want people to see my beauty and see the grace of God in my beauty... And be thankful to God... This is how the women of the first generation (of Islam) behaved. That's all I want to say," Khan said.

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

Such saffron-clad students are also being barred from entering classes.

Higher education universities and colleges to remain closed till Feb 16

In wake of the Hijab row, the Karnataka government has announced a holiday to universities and colleges until February 16.

However, examinations will be held as scheduled and it has been directed to conduct online classes, state Higher Education Minister C N Ashwath Narayan said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, both Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh and Home Minister Araga Jnanendra had indicated that a decision regarding reopening Pre-University and Degree (higher education) Colleges will be taken on February 14.

Noting that in view of the Hijab row, DCTE had declared the closure of institutions from February 9 to February 11, Narayan said, now as a precautionary measure it has been extended.

This closure is applicable for government, aided, unaided degree colleges, diploma, and engineering colleges, he added.

The government on Thursday had decided to resume classes for high school students up to class 10 from February 14, and for Pre-University and Degree Colleges thereafter.

The Karnataka High Court, in its interim order pending consideration of all petitions related to the Hijab row, had earlier requested the state government to reopen educational institutions and restrained all the students from wearing saffron shawls, scarves, Hijab and any religious flag within the classroom.

As protests for and against the hijab intensified in different parts of Karnataka and turned violent in some places, the government declared a holiday for all high schools and colleges in the state for three days, from February 9.

Earlier in the day, ahead of the reopening of schools, the state government had issued a series of directions to district administrations, aimed at maintaining peace and that the High Court order is not violated.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai held a meeting with some Ministers, Deputy Commissioners (DCs), Superintendent of Police (SPs), Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPIs) and CEOs of Zilla Panchayats of all districts, via video conferencing, to review the ground situation.

"From Monday, high school classes up to class 10 will resume across the state, directions have been issued to see to it that no untoward incident takes place. In sensitive areas, DCs and SPs have to visit campuses and instruct the authorities and teaching staff there to see to it that no untoward incidents take place," Jnanendra told reporters after the meeting. DCs, SPs and DDPIs have been asked to keep constant contact with principals, teachers, management of educational institutions and parents.

"Action should be taken against the guilty, peace meetings should be held and the High Court order should be followed literally. Authorities should not budge to any pressure and even small incidents should be considered seriously," he added. 

Meanwhile, a police flag march was held in Udupi, ahead of the reopening of schools on Monday.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.