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Karnataka Chief Minister Reverses Controversial Hijab Ban, Praises Religious Freedom

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On December 22, Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah reversed the contentious hijab ban, which had been implemented by the previous BJP-led government under Basavaraj Bommai.

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The revocation of the hijab ban by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has sparked discussions on the broader implications of religious freedom in Karnataka. The ban, initially enforced by the Karnataka BJP government in 2022, prohibited the wearing of hijabs in government schools. The Karnataka High Court had previously supported the ban, deeming it constitutionally permissible in educational institutions with prescribed uniforms.

No Ban on Hijabs,' Karnataka Govt Says After Reports on Head Cover  Restrictions in Exams

Source: The Wire

Siddaramaiah, expressing his disapproval on the social networking platform X, criticized the BJP’s slogan of “sab ka saath-sab ka vikas,” denouncing it as misleading. He accused the BJP of fostering divisions in society based on clothing, attire, and caste. In a tweet translated from Kannada to English, Siddaramaiah stated, “BJP’s claim of ‘sab ka saath-sab ka vikas’ is false. They are engaging in decisive actions, creating divisions based on clothing, attire, and caste. I have instructed to revoke the hijab ban.”

The previous BJP-led government in Karnataka had argued that the hijab was not an essential religious practice in Islam, and prohibiting its use did not infringe upon Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom. This argument was contested by critics who viewed the ban as an infringement on the right to religious expression.

Will see in the future': Karnataka minister on revoking hijab ban -

Source: Business Today

The revocation of the hijab ban reflects a reevaluation of the state’s stance on religious diversity and freedom. It underscores the importance of fostering an inclusive environment that respects and accommodates various religious practices. Siddaramaiah’s decision to overturn the ban aligns with the principles of religious harmony and acknowledges the need for coexistence among different communities.

The controversy surrounding the hijab ban had raised questions about the balance between individual religious freedom and institutional regulations. While the Karnataka High Court had deemed the ban reasonable in educational institutions with prescribed uniforms, Siddaramaiah’s intervention signals a reconsideration of the broader societal impact of such regulations.

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