Hijab row: High schools reopen in Karnataka amid tension

Hijab row: Classes reopen in Karnataka amid tension; HC to resume hearing today
A woman holds a placard during a protest in support of female Muslim students of Karnataka over 'hijab' issue, in Thane, Sunday, February 13, 2022. Photo: PTI

Bengaluru: After a near week-long hijab row forced holiday, high schools in Karnataka reopened on Monday, amid prohibitory orders in Udupi, which witnessed violence and tension last week, and sensitive areas of Dakshina Kannada and Bengaluru.

Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code has been imposed in sensitive areas in the said districts.

In Udupi district, all the schools that reopened witnessed normal attendance, Education Department sources said. Muslim girl students who reached the school campuses wearing hijabs, and removed them before entering classes.

Examinations scheduled for the day are also going on in the institutions.

The district administration has imposed Section 144 of CrPC around 200-metre radius of all high schools in the district from Monday till February 19 to maintain peace.

Udupi Tahsildar Pradeep Kurudekar, who visited a few schools, said Muslim students were abiding by the High Court's interim order by removing hijabs before entering classes. There were no reports of Hindu students turning up in saffron shawls.

Police personnel have been posted in Udupi town and near the schools to maintain law and order and to avoid any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Udupi Pejawar mutt chief Swami Vishwaprasanna Teertha appealed to all sections to avoid chaos and maintain peace.

In some goverment schools in Koppal and Kalaburagi districts, students appeared in classrooms wearing hijab as well as burqa, sources in the Education Department said. However, officials who reached the spot later asked the students to remove them.

In Shivamogga, a few students insisted that they should be allowed to go inside the schools wearing burqa despite instruction by the school authorities not to enter the premises wearing either hijab or burqa as the High Court has restrained them from doing so.

However, they were not allowed entry into the school citing the HC order, even as the girls feigned ignorance about the court order. Subsequently, there was an argument between the teachers and students.

Pre-university, degree colleges to reopen from Feb 16
The Karnataka government on Monday decided to reopen pre-university and degree colleges across the state, that were shut due to hijab row, from February 16.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, which was attended by Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh, Higher Education Minister C N Ashwath Narayan, and senior officials of the government.

"At the meeting, the current situation in the state was analysed. It was decided to reopen PU and Degree colleges from Wednesday," Nagesh said.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, he said the colleges will reopen on the basis of the Karnataka High Court's interim order.

"Wherever (in colleges) there are uniform related rules, it has to be strictly followed. Where a uniform is not there, the dress code will be decided. We will strictly follow the High Court order," he added.

As protests for and against the hijab intensified in different parts of Karnataka and turned violent in some places, the government had declared a holiday for all high schools and colleges in the state for three days, from February 9, and it was subsequently extended up to February 16.

However, the Karnataka High Court, in its interim order pending consideration of all petitions related to the hijab row, last week had requested the state government to reopen educational institutions and restrained all the students from wearing saffron shawls, scarves, hijab and any religious flag within the classroom.


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