Hijab ban: 16% of Muslim girls in Mangalore university colleges drop out

Following the announcement by the Vice-Chancellor of Mangalore University (MU), Prof. PS Yadpadithaya, on the issuance of a TC (transfer certificate) to students who did not wish to attend classes without the hijab (headscarf) in May this year, more than 16% of female Muslim students in the second, third, fourth and fifth semesters of government and MU-affiliated aided colleges collected their TCs.

According to information obtained through RTI by DH, at MU government, aided and constituent colleges in Dakshna Kannada and Udupi districts, 145 of the 900 female Muslim students who enrolled in various courses in 2020- 21 and 2021-22 had collected TC.

While some of them have been admitted to colleges where hijab is allowed, others have dropped out due to reasons such as inability to pay fees. However, in Kodagu district, the 113 Muslim female students continue to study in their colleges. There are 10 government, aided and constituent colleges of MU in Kodagu district.

Read | Mangaluru University ready to facilitate admission of female students wearing hijab to other institutions

The number of Muslim female students seeking TC is higher in public colleges (34%) than in subsidized colleges (8%). There are 39 government colleges and 36 aided colleges in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. The number of students who applied for transfer in Udupi district (14%) is higher than in Dakshina Kannada district (13%). Dr. P Dayananda Pai-P Satisha Pai Government First Grade College, Carstreet tops the list among government colleges in Dakshina Kannada with no less than 35 out of 51 female Muslim students receiving their TC.

At Haleangadi Government First Grade College, 20 female students who had taken courses in the first, third and fourth semesters earned TCs while being in the second, fourth and sixth semesters. College principal Sridhar told DH when contacted that students had ignored his pleas to attend classes. They didn’t even collect the TCs, he added.

Government First Grade College in Ajjarkad, the epicenter of hijab row, topped the list of government colleges in Udupi district with nine students picking up their TCs.

And after CT?

Among the aided colleges, SDM College in Ujire (11) and Bhandarkars College (13) in Kundapur recorded the highest number of Muslim female students collecting TCs. So what do these students do after collecting the TC? “I hope to get admitted to another college,” Hiba Shiekh told DH at the “girls conference” held recently in Mangaluru. She was pursuing a second year of Bachelor of Science at Carstreet Government College when she decided to get her TC.

Gausia, who had completed her fifth semester at University College, Mangaluru, managed to gain admission into a private college. “But his sixth semester could start in March 2023,” sources told United. Prof. Yadpadithaya, MU VC said many Muslim female students have met him while seeking his help to gain admission into colleges with their suits. “As these issues cannot be resolved, I have asked them to contact Karnataka State Open University (KSOU),” the VC told DH.

Read | Follow Karnataka High Court’s Hijab verdict, if you want to stay in India, KS Eshwarappa warns Muslim students

“I had informed the students that education was more important than religion,” he said.

Bengaluru-based psychologist and activist Ruksana Hassan has urged female Muslim students not to be “emotional” but to continue their education. Talent Research Foundation (TRF) Chairman Riyaz Ahmed said that many girls, with the help of the community in Dakshina Kannada district, were enrolled in private colleges.

“The numbers could be higher”

Uppinangady First Grade Government College in Uppinangady, which had witnessed clashes over the hijab issue, had provided information under RTI to DH stating that no student had dropped out. After verification, the director of the university, Professor Shekar, admitted that two Muslim students had dropped out of the university. Campus Front of India (CFI) District Chairman Athavulla Punjalkatte told DH that the data compiled by them indicates that the percentage of dropouts was much higher.

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