All schools and colleges in Karnataka to be shut for the next three days amid the row over students wearing hijab. Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai tweeted “I appeal to all the students, teachers and management of schools and colleges as well as people of Karnataka to maintain peace and harmony. I have ordered closure of all high schools and colleges for next three days. All concerned are requested to cooperate.”
Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court is hearing petitions filed by five women from the Udipi government college, questioning the hijab restrictions. At the time of writing, the hearing for the day has been adjourned and will resume tomorrow.
Justice Dixit Krishna Shripad said, “This court has full faith in the wisdom and virtue of public at large and it hopes that the same would be put to practice”, as per NDTV, and asked the public to keep the peace. The Chief Minister’s tweet came before the proceedings ended.
The hijab protests took off last month when six students of the Government Girls PU College in Udupi alleged that they’d been barred from entering classes since they insisted on wearing the hijab or headscarf. Animosity heightened when right-wing groups from Udupi and Chikkamagaluru objected to Muslim girls wearing the hijab in classrooms.
On Friday and Saturday, a group of students escalated the protests by marching into college wearing saffron scarves. Thereon, the matter snowballed with protestors throwing stones at each other, and a Karnataka college saw the saffron flag being hoisted as well.
At a Mandya college, a Muslim girl was seen standing her ground, while being heckled by a large number of boys in saffron scarves. She responded to their chants of “Jai Shree Ram” with “Allah hu Akbar”.
While college rules allow girls to wear the hijab in class, they aren’t allowed to keep them on during lessons, as per NDTV’s report of officials’ statements.
However, Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra has taken a neutral stance saying students shouldn’t wear the hijab or saffron scarves in school.