Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai today ruled out that there was a proposal from the state's waqf board for opening separate colleges for Muslim girls. The statement by the board chief had started another controversy after a row earlier this month over hijab being disallowed at government-run educational institutions.
Speaking to reporters at Bommanakatte in Shivamogga on Thursday, the chief minister said the statement by the Karnataka State Waqf Board head on opening such colleges was "only a statement" and that "no such proposal is before the government".
This came a day after Maulana Shafi Saadi, chairperson of the board, reportedly said, “We have decided to start 10 colleges for girls in various districts in the state at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore each. The government has also given consent to this project and shortly it will take off.”
He had added, "There is no connection with the hijab protest. This decision was taken before. Everybody is allowed to get admission to this college." According to an India Today report, he added, “This was announced 5-6 months before. We have Rs 25 crores in the board allotted for this. Then, we have many pieces of land. This is especially for women's colleges in different districts of the state."
The Chief Minister, while denying any such plan, also rubbished reports that attendance of Muslim girls has declined after the hijab restrictions; he termed it "false and baseless".
"The girls' attendance hasn't reduced," Mr Bommai claimed, "In fact, the literacy rate of Karnataka has increased, and the minority girl students are showing more interest in education. There is no confusion in this regard."