Debjit Mukherjee: Karnataka Higher Education Minister MC Sudhakar said there was no ban on hijabs during recruitment exams for boards and corporations, hours after the Karnataka Examination Authority’s new dress code banned all forms of head cover.
The KEA’s dress code as a crackdown on malpractices, such as cheating using Bluetooth devices, drew criticism from different groups and politicians, including All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
However, the Higher Education Minister said the idea behind the dress code was to check malpractices and, in any case, hijabs don’t cover the mouth, so using Bluetooth devices won’t be possible, adding that the new rules were being misinterpreted.
Women candidates wearing hijabs will have to report to exam centres an hour early and go through proper frisking, he said, adding, “We will introduce more metal detectors from this time. We don’t want people to cheat like in previous years.”
Sudhakar said, “These rules are nothing new. They existed earlier, too. We just want to increase vigilance. Wearing unnecessary caps or scarves is not allowed but it doesn’t apply to hijab.”
Speaking about the criticism from political leaders, Sudhakar said, “I don’t know why wrong information is being disseminated. I don’t see anything wrong.”
The announcement came ahead of various boards and corporations to be held on November 18 and 19 across the state.
The KEA stated that wearing “any garment or cap that covers head, mouth or ears” will not be allowed in the exam hall. The order says that this is part of the effort to stop exam malpractices using Bluetooth devices.