Bengaluru police impose prohibitory orders near schools and colleges amid hijab row

The order will remain in place until February 22, Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal S Pant said, after protests over the hijab row broke out across Karnataka.
A security guard standing near a school gate
A security guard standing near a school gate
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After protests broke out at educational institutions across parts of Karnataka amid the hijab row, prohibitory orders have been clamped in Bengaluru under section 144(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Under this, all gatherings, agitations and protests within 200 meters of any educational institution including schools, pre-university colleges and degree colleges have been banned. The order came into force from Wednesday, February 9 and will remain in place for the next two weeks till February 22.

The announcement was made by the Bengaluru police through an order signed by Police Commissioner Kamal Pant. The order stated, “In exercise of the powers conferred u/s 144(1) Cr PC of 1973, I, Kamal Pant, IPS, Commissioner of Police and Additional District Magistrate, Bengaluru City, hereby prohibit any gathering, agitation or protest of any type within the area of 200 mtr radius from the gate(s) of the Schools, PU Colleges, Degree Colleges or other similar Educational Institutions in Bengaluru City, for a period of two weeks with immediate effect (sic).”

The order noted that in recent days, “in certain parts of the state, protests and agitations have been held in connection with the strict enforcement of the School/College uniform rules.”

“At some places, these protests have led to violence, disturbing public peace and order. Since the possibility of similar agitations/protests being held in Bengaluru city cannot be ruled (out), it is very essential to initiate proper security measures to maintain public peace and order in Bengaluru city,” it further stated. 

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had on Tuesday announced a three-day holiday for educational institutions across the state, amid protests over allowing students to wear hijabs in the classroom.  

Prohibitory orders were also clamped in Karnataka’s Shivamogga, after protests over allowing students to wear hijabs inside classrooms turned violent on Tuesday. Incidents of stone pelting were reported in the city areas, which led to the police lathi-charging protesters. A large group of students wearing saffron shawls were seen at the Government First Grade College in Shivamogga’s Bapujinagar. In visuals which were circulated online, one of them was seen climbing the college’s flagpole and hoisting a saffron flag. 

Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court, which was hearing a batch of petitions filed by Muslim students over the banning of hijabs from colleges, has referred the matter to a larger bench. The High Court did not pass an interim order, adding that after the Chief Justice constitutes a larger bench, the petitioners can move that bench for an interim order. 

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