Activists from various social organizations came together in Vizag on 10 February 2022, opposing the hijab ban at colleges in Karnataka. The Mahila Chetana, Muslim Thinkers Forum (MTF), and Human Rights Forum (HRF) have staged protests at the Gandhi Statue, opposite the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) office. They said that minorities in India are protected by the Indian Constitution and they should be allowed to practice their religious faiths without any objection.
Speaking to Yo! Vizag, District General Secretary of HRF, K. Anuradha, said that the ban on hijabs which was imposed in the colleges of coastal Karnataka threatens to spread across other states, like a hate crime. She also emphasised that the Hindu supremacists had discriminated against Muslims on various pretexts such as beef, Muslim collective prayers called Azaan, the skullcap, and the Urdu language. Her opinion is that the hijab is just another reason to impose religious apartheid and attack Muslim women.
Fatima an IT employee from Vizag, says “My Hijab covers my hair and my body, not my mind and heart. Like every other woman, I am capable of realizing my dreams and feeling a whole range of emotions. Depriving a woman of the opportunities on the basis of what she wears is only regressing the society backwards.”
The controversy over the hijab initially started a month ago, when a group of six Muslim students, at a government women’s college in the Udupi District, were denied entry into their classrooms as they were defying the rules of the administration by wearing the hijab. These women have been protesting against the move, saying they should not be denied education due to their choice of clothes. The incident reignited the debate about the rights of Indian minorities. The hijab ban came as the religious minorities, especially Muslims and Christians, faced attacks from the right-wing Hindu groups of the Karnataka State.