Express press service
BENGALURU: Even as the issue of hijab is hotly debated, school uniforms were introduced in the 1980s when Ramakrishna Hegde was chief minister. The then education minister in the Hegde cabinet, Mr Raghupathy, said on Thursday that when uniforms were introduced at the time, the issue of the hijab was raised and the Janata party government of l he era granted an exemption for Muslim students to wear the headscarf.
The former minister posted a message on Facebook stating: “In 1985, as Minister of Education in the cabinet of the late Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde, I had introduced the free uniform scheme for students in public schools, municipal corporations, municipal schools and panchayat. It was the first time that uniforms were introduced in Karnataka. Students, girls and boys, would receive free uniforms.
“We made it clear that female students from the minority community wearing the hijab or nun’s habit and coming to government institutions were no problem as it would not disrupt the school environment in schools and colleges. . his post, he appealed that “no political party should make a problem of it and disturb the atmosphere in schools and colleges. “I call on the government to bring peace and harmony to educational institutions,” he added.
Speaking to the New Indian Express, Raghupathy recalled that the wearing of uniforms was later introduced in PU colleges. The hijab issue was discussed at the time and settled. Since the hijab is religiously mandated, students can wear it without any problem and the practice has continued uninterrupted ever since, he said.
Raghupathy also recalled that the decision to give away free uniforms and textbooks cost the government around Rs 40 crore per year at that time. Raghupathy recalled that he had discussions about it with then Union Congress ministers in the government led by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, when he himself was a member. of the Janata party.
Raghupathy also recalled that Christian nuns who wore a habit and those belonging to other religions, such as Jain women, who wore a veil on their heads, then also enjoyed an exemption. Interestingly, the 18-seat BJP, which had given outside support to the 95-seat Janata Party government, did not oppose it, Raghupathy pointed out.