March 24, 2023

Hijab row: Protests turn violent; Karnataka HC, CM Bommai appeal for peace | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The row over wearing of hijab at schools and colleges in Karnataka escalated on Tuesday with some parts of the state witnessing violent protests by students.
The issue began in January this year at a government PU College in Udupi where six students who attended classes wearing headscarves were asked to leave the campus.
The matter has now spread to other parts of the state, with Hindu youngsters, backed by right-wing outfits, responding by wearing saffron scarves.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka high court, which is hearing the matter, has urged the students to maintain peace and tranquility.
Tension boils over
Protests for and against the ‘hijab’ intensified at some educational institutions in Udupi, Shivamogga, Bagalkote and other parts of Karnataka.
According to IANS, incidents of stone pelting and lathi-charge were reported at some other pre-university colleges.
A minor stone petting incident was reported near a college in Bagalkote and few students even tried to barge into the campus. The police had to disperse the students using mild force.
In Shivamogga, police said that stone pelting started after an argument broke out between the hijab wearing students and another group of students who came in saffron shawls.
Later, prohibitory orders were clamped in Shivamogga district.
Protests also erupted at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College in Udupi after a large group of students wearing saffron stoles and headgears raised slogans in the college campus as hijab clad Muslim girls were staging a protest demanding justice.
The police and college authorities were forced to intervene to control the situation.
Hearing in Karnataka HC
Meanwhile, the Karnataka high court began hearing the petitions filed by five girls studying in a Government Pre-university College in Udupi, questioning hijab restriction in college.
The court expressed dismay over students attacking each other and spilling onto the streets.
“If we see fire and blood on TV, judges will be disturbed. If the mind is disturbed, intellect will not work,” a bench headed by Justice Krishna S Dixith said.
It appealed the students to maintain peace and tranquility so that the public is not disturbed. The court added that it has full faith in the wisdom and virtue of the public at large, hoping that the same would be practiced.
The court said that it will go by reason and law and not passion or emotions.
“We will go by what Constitution says. Constitution is the Bhagavad Gita for me,” the judge said.
It will resume hearing on the matter on Wednesday afternoon.
Schools, colleges shut for three days
Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai made a similar appeal, urging students, teachers and the public to maintain peace and harmony.
He said that all high schools and colleges across the state will be shut for the next three days in view of the protests.
Earlier, state home minister Araga Jnanendra also urged the protesting students to maintain peace.
“You (students) are all educated, you have to think about your future. After two years of Covid-19, this year classes have been conducted in a good way. This is the time for you to prepare for your exams that are coming up in a couple of months,” Jnanendra said.
Noting that religious forces behind such incidents have to be quelled and everyone should think about the country, the minister in a video statement said, “We should all stand together as brothers, as the children of this country. Uniform is a sign of equality. Educational institutions are not the place for practicing our religion or to showcase our costumes.”
“Everyone should maintain peace. Don’t give an opportunity to use the police force. I appeal to parents to guide their children and let’s all work towards colleges functioning in a peaceful manner,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)

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