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Absolutely no ban on hijab in upcoming Karnataka recruitment exams, says MC Sudhakar

We have always allowed candidates to wear hijab. That will continue: Karnataka education minister

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 16.11.23, 05:10 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo

Karnataka education minister M.C. Sudhakar has said there is no ban on the hijab at the upcoming exams to fill vacancies in government jobs, setting at rest the controversy over a circular that said head covering would not be allowed.

“There is absolutely no ban on the hijab or any traditional clothing that candidates might wear. Nothing has changed from the past exams,” Sudhakar told The Telegraph on Wednesday.


“We have always allowed candidates to wear hijab. That will continue,” Sudhakar said, referring to the exams held on October 28, 29 and November 6.

A circular issued by the Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) had said caps, scarves or headdresses covering the head and ears would not be allowed at the upcoming competitive examinations on November 18 and 19.

Although it did not mention the hijab, a controversy erupted on Tuesday with leaders like Asaddudin Owaisi and Omar Abdullah criticising the Congress government in the state.

“These great leaders from Telangana and Kashmir tried to make an election issue out of this. If the hijab was banned, the KEA would have clearly mentioned it in the circular,” Sudhakar said.

Owaisi’s All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen is contesting the Telangana Assembly elections this month.

The KEA circular has also prohibited all kinds of electronic and Bluetooth devices, ear phones, pen drives and eatables in exam halls.

Given the rampant use of easily concealable in-ear Bluetooth devices that several students were caught with at the recent exams conducted by the KEA, Sudhakar said fresh instructions had been issued to all candidates to be present at their respective centres two hours in advance, against the usual one hour.

“Not only those who are wearing hijab, but every candidate appearing for the exams must be present at least two hours in advance. This is to facilitate thorough frisking to ensure no one is carrying any prohibited items,” Sudhakar said.

Asked if it was the ambiguity in the wording of the KEA circular that led to the confusion, Sudhakar said: “Probably, yes.”

Asked if the KEA needed to be more careful about the wording in future, Sudhakar said: “I strongly feel so. Because people try to read between the lines and interpret them in their own way, so we need to be more careful.”

“Usually I don’t look into these circulars that are routinely issued. But from now I need to read them carefully and avoid this unnecessary confusion that allows somebody else to take advantage of the situation,” Sudhakar added.

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader Omar had urged the Karnataka chief minister and Congress leaders, including president Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, to ensure the order was withdrawn.

“Earlier when these things used to happen in Karnataka, we weren’t concerned because the BJP was in power there. But unfortunately this is a Congress government’s decision,” Omar had told reporters on Tuesday.

Owaisi targeted the Congress and its Telangana state president Revanth Reddy in the poll-bound southern state. The AIMIM is in direct contest with the Congress in the upcoming Assembly elections.

“CongRSS govt has banned HIJAB in exams. It has also not revoked the previous BJP govt’s Hijab ban. Telangana CongRSS chief RSS Anna wants to apply ‘Karnataka model' in Telangana. This is why he keeps abusing sherwani & avoids being seen with skull cap wearing Muslims. Kapde dekh kar pehchaano (identify them by their clothes), as his bestie Modi once said,” he tweeted.

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