After the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday, March 15, dismissed the pleas of students against the hijab ban in educational institutions, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai appealed to the public to maintain peace in the state. Speaking to reporters outside the court, he said that everyone must follow the High Court’s order.
“It is very important that peace be maintained in society. I appeal to the public, opposition leaders, to all the youth and students, we must all accept the judgment. This will help strengthen our education, and all must work to uphold it,” the CM said. He also urged students not to miss out on classes and exams due to this issue. “You must attend classes, you must attend exams, you must prioritise your future,” he added.
Reacting to the development, Karnataka Education Minister BC Nagesh also said that he welcomes the High Court's hijab verdict. "I welcome the landmark judgement of the Hon'ble Karnataka High Court on school/college uniform rules. It reiterated that the law of the land is above everything," he said.
“In the coming days, in the Karnataka Education Act, the changes that have been prescribed will be done. We have known for many years that uniforms bring about a nationalistic psyche. For this cooperation, we have prescribed the uniform. We are children of the country. We will try to persuade the girls (petitioners) to wear uniform. We will try to bring them to the mainstream,” he told reporters.
Anticipating protests after the verdict, the Karnataka government on Monday put in place prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in several parts of the state, including Dakshina Kannada, Shivamogga and Hassan. Further, schools and colleges were ordered to remain shut on Wednesday.
In Bengaluru as well, public gatherings, celebrations, or protests have been banned for a week, the Police Commissioner announced on Monday. The order issued by Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant prohibits any gathering, agitations, protests or celebrations of any type in any public place in Bengaluru for one week, from March 15 to March 21.
The High Court, after an 11-day hearing, on Wednesday said that wearing the hijab is not an essential religious practice, and that the government can prescribe a uniform, as the uniform is a reasonable restriction on fundamental rights which the students cannot object to. The High Court also said that the Karnataka government has the power to prescribe uniform and held that no case has been made out to invalidate the Karnataka Government Order of February 5, which mandated a dress code.