Muslim organisations had called for a bandh from 6 am to 6 pm after the Karnataka HC ruled that the hijab not an essential practice under Islam.

An empty road in Karnataka's KolarEmpty road in Kolar | Syed Mueen
news Bandh Thursday, March 17, 2022 - 15:45

A day after the Karnataka High Court delivered its verdict ruling the hijab a non-essential practice under Islam, Muslim groups across Karnataka had called for a bandh on March 17 in protest. In Bengaluru, parts of the city wore a deserted look on Thursday, March 17, in areas including Commercial Street and Shivajinagar in the heart of Bengaluru, as several shops had downed their shutters and fewer vehicles were seen on the roads.

The situation was similar across Karnataka, with activity in several places including Dakshina Kannada, Bidar, Hubbali, Tumakuru, Chikmagalur and others slowing down due to closed shops and empty roads. The Ameer-E-Shariat of Karnataka, Maulana Sagir Ahmad Khan Rashadi, on Wednesday gave a call for a state-wide bandh on Thursday, which has been supported by hundreds of organisations across the southern state. "Expressing our anger against the sad order of the Karnataka High Court regarding hijab, a state-wide bandh will be observed on Thursday," Rashadi stated, as he appealed to the entire Muslim community to support the bandh between 6 am and 6 pm on Thursday. The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and the Campus Front of India (CFI) also supported the bandh call.

Meanwhile, reacting to the bandh call given by Muslim organisations against verdict on wearing of hijab in classrooms, BJP National General Secretary CT Ravi on Thursday said that people need to shed the “Jinnah” mindset. "They did the same thing after the Supreme Court verdict in the Shah Bano case. The then Congress government under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi succumbed to their pressure. This is not the time to continue with your agenda," Ravi said. "Come out of the Jinnah mindset and inculcate Indinaness. The Jinnah agenda won't work now," he added.

On Wednesday, a day before the state-wide bandh call, many traders had closed their establishments voluntarily in protest against the High Court’s verdict in Karnataka’s Bhatkal. The police later filed a First Information Report (FIR) against activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) for allegedly attempting to force closure of shops and observe a bandh against the Karnataka High Court verdict.

Read: ‘We feel betrayed': Udupi students pledge to continue legal fight after HC verdict

On Tuesday, March 15, the Karnataka High Court dismissed all the student petitioners’ pleas against the ban on hijabs in educational institutions in Karnataka, after hearing the matter for 11 days. Two students have moved the Supreme Court against the High Court’s verdict, which the SC has said will be heard after Holi vacations. Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde has sought an urgent hearing in the matter, as board exams are approaching and there are fears that students who wish to wear the hijab will have to miss out on their exams, he said.

Read: Reading the judgment: Why Karnataka HC dismissed pleas against hijab ban

Also read: Explained: After hijab verdict, here's who can decide whether headscarf allowed

With inputs from agencies

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