The second-year pre-university examinations started in Karnataka on Friday amid tight security and in the shadow of the hijab row. Over 6.84 lakh students will write the exam at 1,076 centres across the state. The exams will go on till May 18.
As there is a ban on hijab or any cloth linked to religious identity, the authorities made arrangements at exam centres for the Muslim girls to remove their headscarves before entering the exam halls. Muslim girls who turned up at the examination wearing hijab said they will remove it inside the separate enclosure and will wear it again after the exam is over.
“Hijab is important and so is writing and passing the exam. Our future depends on our exam results,” a Muslim girl student told reporters in Bengaluru.
The Karnataka High Court had last month upheld the order of the state government banning wearing clothes that disturb equality, integrity and public order in schools and colleges, which a section of Muslim girls had challenged in the court.
Elaborate security arrangements were made at the exam centres preventing any congregation of people to create any ruckus. Also, the photocopy centres were banned around the exam centres to prevent any exam malpractices as is the use of loudspeakers.
According to Education department officials, there are 6,00,519 regular students, 61,808 repeaters and 21,928 private candidates who have enrolled this year for exams.
The state government made provision for students to travel to and from their nearest bus stop to the exam centre free of cost in Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses.