In a shocking incident, a bus driver in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi district caused outrage after he allegedly refused to allow school girls to board the bus unless they were in burqa.
He asked the girl students to get off the bus for not wearing burqas. The incident occurred near Okali village in Kamalapur taluka of Kalaburagi while the students were heading to their school in Basavakalyan.
According to witnesses, the bus driver, demanded that all Muslim girl students wear burqas before boarding the bus. Even those wearing hijabs were denied entry, with the driver claiming that only burqas were acceptable for Muslim students.
He said, “If you’re a Muslim, wear a burqa, not a hijab. Only then we will allow you to board the bus.”
One student, who was in the bus stated that the driver asked them about their religious identity and insisted them to wear a burqa. When he refused to disclose his name, he was subjected to verbal abuse.
When other commuters confronted the driver about his actions, he defended himself by claiming that the bus was not working and that the students were creating a nuisance.
The bus involved in the incident with registration number KA 38 F 1074, is running between Basavakalyan and Kalaburagi.
Earlier last year, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justices Krishna S Dixit and Khazi M Jaibunnisa stated that hijab could not be permitted in educational institutions as it is not an essential religious practice of Islam. Hijab also does not form part of the uniform either.
While delivering its judgement on the contentious issue, Karnataka High Court observed that the Quran does not mandate wearing of hijab. The court further stated that it is a cultural practice and is used as apparel as a measure of social security.