Karnataka closes high schools, colleges for 3 days after violence over hijab row

Parts of Karnataka saw violent confrontations, including stone pelting and a saffron flag being hoisted at a government college.
Students sitting in a classroom
Students sitting in a classroom
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As the hijab row intensifies in Karnataka, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday, February 8, ordered that all high schools and colleges across the state would be closed for the next three days, from February 9 to 11. The CM’s announcement comes as protests continued over the issue of allowing students to wear hijabs in educational institutions, with violence erupting in parts of the state. 

The CM 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 the closure of all high schools and colleges for the next three days. All concerned are requested to cooperate.”

This announcement by the CM comes as the Karnataka High Court is hearing a batch of petitions surrounding the issue. While students who want to wear the hijab say that it is their fundamental right to do so, the state government has passed an order asking students to strictly adhere to the dress code mandated by the schools or colleges. In an interim order on Tuesday, the Karnataka High Court urged the student community and the public at large to maintain peace and tranquility to prevent public disturbance. “The court has full faith in the wisdom and virtue of the public at large and hopes that the same would be put to practice,” the order read.

Violence broke out in parts of Karnataka as students clad in saffron scarves confronted young Muslim women wearing hijabs in colleges. Incidents of stone pelting and public disorderliness were reported in Bagalkot and Shivamogga, among other places. In Shivamogga, a large group of students wearing saffron shawls were seen gathered at the Government First Grade College in the city’s Bapujinagar. One of them climbed a flagpole in the college and hoisted a saffron flag. The situation prompted district authorities to impose Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, to restrict gatherings. 

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