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Karnataka CM orders closure of schools and colleges for 3 days after burqa row turns uglier, stone-pelting and clashes reported in several areas

Social media is awash with videos of incidents of stone-pelting and violence carried off at Pre-University Colleges in Shivamogga, Bagalkot, Udupi, and other parts of Karnataka.

After the burqa row in Karnataka took an ugly turn on Tuesday, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai ordered the closure of all high schools and colleges in the state for the next three days.

“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 closure of all high schools and colleges for next three days. All concerned are requested to cooperate,” Bommai tweeted.

On Tuesday, tension prevailed at some educational institutions in Karnataka’s Udupi, Shivamogga, Bagalkote and other parts over the Hijab row. Incidents of stone-pelting and violence were reported from various parts of the state. Police reportedly resorted to lathi-charge to quell up the mob, which began pelting stones at Pre-University Colleges in various districts of the state.

According to sources, many students were injured in the stone-pelting incidents. Additional police forces have been deployed and section 144 has been imposed in various places in Karnataka to avoid any untoward incidents.

Social media is awash with videos of incidents of stone-pelting and violence carried off at Pre-University Colleges in Shivamogga, Bagalkot, Udupi, and other parts of Karnataka.

The video shared above is from the Government Pre-University College of Rabakavibanahatti in Banhatti town in the Bagalkot district in Karnataka where reportedly a group of Muslim men pelted stones on college after students clad with saffron stoles didn’t allow Muslim girls to enter college with hijabs as they have maintained that it was a violation of the uniform rules.

It is being reported that the incident took place in the presence of policemen, who later resorted to canning to bring the situation in control and disperse the crowd. As the situation turned violent, the college management declared a holiday for the college.

Sharing another video, Twitter user @AkshayKatariyaa claimed that the mob tried to threaten Hindu students who were going to college with saffron shawls. The situation was brought under control after the police intervened.

A similar situation was reported from the surrounding areas of the Bapujinagar Government Pre-University College in Shivamogga. According to reports, police have resorted to lathicharge as pro-Hijab groups pelted stones at private buses near the Junior college. The police reportedly caned the students and protesters to quell the mob. Some students were detained and section 144 was imposed in the area to bring the situation under control. 

Meanwhile, two groups of students at Karnataka’s Udupi MGM College were also reportedly spotted engaging in a verbal spat over wearing hijab and saffron shawls. Seeing the situation deteriorate, the college reportedly turned out all the students and declared a holiday for an indefinite duration. The police arrived immediately and took control of the situation.

At the entrance of Shanteshwar Pre University College in Indi town, Vijayapura district, students wearing hijab and saffron shawls were stopped. Students gathered in front of the campus after being turned out and shouted slogans. Meanwhile, another group emerged with blue shawls in support of Muslim students wearing hijab. As a result, there was mayhem, and police had to rush in to calm things down.

In Karnataka, uniform requirements in educational institutions have turned into a political controversy after a few Muslim students refused to observe the rules and insisted on wearing hijabs inside educational institutions.

In response, non-Muslim students had decided to wear the saffron shawls prompting the authorities to ban both outfits. Despite the college authorities trying to convince the students to obey uniform rules and attend classes, the Muslim girls have been adamant, insisting that they would rather sit and protest outside.

On February 5, in solidarity with their classmates, girl students also hit the streets by wearing saffron shawls to protest against the attempts of Muslim students to vilify the secular atmosphere in the college by deliberately violating the rules and regulations.

Several videos had earlier gone viral in which girl students adorning saffron shawls took a march to protest against hijabs. In addition, they chanted Jai Shri Ram slogans to show support to their fellow students who were not allowed to enter campus for wearing saffron shawls on Friday.

The recent Hijab Controversy in Karnataka

The Hijab controversy, which started at a school in Udupi, Karnataka, has now spread across the state. On the morning of February 3, more than 20 hijab-wearing female students were prohibited from entering Bhandarkar College in Kundapur, Karnataka’s Udupi district. The PU College problem first came to light on January 2, 2022, when six Muslim female students insisted on wearing hijab in the classroom, in violation of the uniform rule.

Because the girls refused to remove their Hijabs, openly flouting the uniform mandate, numerous boys preferred to go around campus wearing saffron scarves in order to protest this. They were all denied entry because their clothes differed from the standard uniform permitted at the institution.

Since early January, the state has convened a committee to evaluate the matter and make a judgment on pre-university college uniforms across the state.

The High Court of Karnataka is currently hearing that Muslim students’ case challenging the Hijab ban in colleges. Justice Krishna S Dixit is hearing the petitions.

Ahead of the High Court hearing on the row, Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai appealed to everyone to maintain peace. “The matter is before the High Court and it will be decided there… I appeal to everyone to maintain peace… All should follow the state’s order (on uniform) until the court decides,” he said.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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