State must uphold the Constitutional Rights to Autonomy, Education, Faith and Non-Discrimination

Initiate strict Action against the Organized Crimes of the Saffron Brigade

Say no to Islamophobia, Majoritarian Violence and Patriarchy!

11th Feb, 2022: National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) salutes the Muslim women of Karnataka and elsewhere, fighting against Hindu supremacist attempts to deprive them of access to education, dignity and rights in order to further an Islamophobic agenda. The ban on hijabs in classes, the impunity of a saffron-scarf clad mob of men targeting a woman based on her attire, are only the latest instances in a long line of state – supported violations of the agency and autonomy of women. They fall in line with the deplorable attempt to silence vocal Muslim women through Bulli Bai and Sulli Deals apps, and leave no doubt about the growing culture of intolerance and apartheid.

Instead of immediately upholding the constitutional rights of the aggrieved women students, we are appalled to note that a three judge bench of the Karnataka High Court while ordering reopening of educational institutions yesterday, has refrained all students, ‘regardless of their religion or faith, from wearing saffron shawls (bhagwa), scarfs, hijab, religious flags or the like within the classroom, until further orders’. The Court clarified that the order is confined to such institutions where the college development committees have prescribed a dress code/ uniform for the students.

This order has rightly faced immense critique from various quarters, as it flies in the face of the fundamental rights of the wronged muslim women and shifts the onus onto them, from the right-wing groups. We fear that in a supposed attempt to ‘maintain peace’, the interim order provides legitimacy to the demands of Hindutva organisations, effectively violating the rights of many more Muslim women students in educational institutions across the State. This is a totally unhealthy precedent and needs to be immediately rectified by the Court.

An interim order like this will infact ensure that the protesting students cannot enter the class till final orders of the Court, which is a gross miscarriage of justice. It is therefore essential that the High Court urgently directs all institutions to maintain the status quo prior to 1st Jan 2022, until the issue is settled.

We unequivocally demand that all authorities uphold the constitutional rights to autonomy, education, faith and non-discrimination and take strict action against organized crimes of the saffron brigade. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim women fighting to have their rights and agency recognized, and with all those rejecting the imposition of misogynist and Islamophobic ‘dress codes’ in educational institutions, in the name of ‘uniformity’.

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

NAPM India