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

Initial reports on the Karnataka Examination Authority's decision prompted questions on why the Congress government had not overturned the BJP government's hijab ban at educational institutions.

New Delhi: The Karnataka government has noted that there is no ban on hijabs at government board and corporations’ recruitment exams, hours after reports said that the Karnataka Examination Authority had banned any kind of head cover during such exams.

Higher education minister M.C. Sudhakar said according India Today, that the new rules were being misinterpreted and did not have a goal other than to curb malpractices during such exams, “such as cheating using Bluetooth devices.”

“[I]n any case, hijabs don’t cover the mouth, so using Bluetooth devices won’t be possible,” he added.

The decision comes from the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government. Its predecessor, the Basavaraj Bommai-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state had banned the hijab in educational institutions, leading to widespread protests, outrage and severe uncertainty for students.

AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi has called Congress the “CongRSS” – a portmanteau of the Congress and the acronym of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, on X (formerly Twitter).

“CongRSS govt has banned HIJAB in exams. It has also not revoked the previous BJP govt’s Hijab ban,” Owaisi wrote.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah meanwhile asked Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to work on revoking the BJP government’s hijab ban, the news agency PTI has reported.

“Why should the government interfere in this? And such orders are passed through which Muslims are targeted. When all this used to happen in Karnataka earlier, it would not surprise us because there was the BJP government at that time,” he also said.