Amid the ongoing hijab row in Karnataka, which has escalated of late, Madhya Pradesh school education minister Inder Singh Parmar has advocated the banning of hijabs in schools, provoking a strong reaction from opposition leaders in the state.

Commenting on the situation in Karnataka, Parmar on Tuesday said “MP state government will apply strict dress code for a sense of equality and discipline among students in schools. From the next session, we will issue rules and regulations related to the uniform dress codes. Hijab is not part of the uniform and it should be banned in MP. We will definitely ban it in MP after inspecting it.”

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“Efforts are being made in the country to disturb the present education system. In India, people follow different traditions at home but in schools, students should follow the [uniform] dress code. Some people are deliberately trying to spoil the atmosphere of the country,” he added.

However, the minister’s comments drew a sharp reaction from Congress leaders who accused the BJP of mixing politics with education. Commenting on Parmar’s suggestion that hijabs would soon be banned in the state, Congress MLA Arif Masood threatened to launch state-wide protests.

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“BJP leaders are bringing politics in every issue. If they take any decision of putting a ban on wearing hijab, we will stage protest against it and will not allow that draconian order,” said the Congress MLA from Bhopal.

The hijab row in Karnataka started after six Muslim girls in the Udupi district were barred from attending classes at a government school for wearing hijabs. The row has since escalated, and several schools have reported protests by girls wearing hijabs and counter-protests by students with saffron scarfs.

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Two people have been arrested thus far for carrying weapons into the protests, while schools and colleges have been closed for three days in view of the ongoing unrest.

The Karnataka High Court, which heard a clutch of petitions related to the row on Tuesday, has yet to issue an order, but has urged the “student community and the public at large to maintain peace and tranquility.”