Bommai orders closure of schools, colleges as hijab row hots up

The video of the confrontation between a lone Muslim student and a group of boys in saffron scarves emerged from a pre-University college in Mandya. Meanwhile, the hijab-saffron scarf row turned violent in parts of Shivamogga

Even as the hijab vs saffron scarves row escalates in Karnataka, the High Court will today hear petitions filed by five women from a government college in Udupi seeking a directive to be allowed to wear the hijab in colleges. Pic: PTI file pic

As the hijab row intensified in Karnataka, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has tweeted that he has ordered all schools and colleges to remain shut for the next three days to maintain “peace and harmony”.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka high court which was today hearing the petition filed by five women from a government college in Udupi, over the hijab controversy, will continue the hearing tomorrow.

Pending further hearing of the matter, Justice Dixit Krishna Shripad asked the students and the public at large to maintain “peace and tranquility”. “This court has full faith in the wisdom and virtue of public at large and it hopes that the same would be put to practice,” Justice Dixit added.

Earlier, he said, “I am giving a patient hearing. People should have faith in the Constitution. Only a mischievous section will keep the issue burning. But making agitation, going on the street, shouting slogans, attacking students, students attacking others, these are not good things.”

Just before the court proceedings ended today, the Chief Minister 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 closure of all high schools and colleges for next three days. All concerned are requested to cooperate.”

Earlier in the day, the video of a burqa-clad girl single-handedly fending off a heckling group of slogan-shouting boys in saffron at a college in Mandya in Karnataka, went viral.

The video of the ugly confrontation has emerged from a pre-University college in Mandya near Mysore, even as the hijab-saffron shawl row turned violent in various parts of Shivamogga district. Prohibitory orders were enforced under Section 144 of CrPC in Shivamogga for two days on Tuesday (February 8).

Meanwhile, the video, which is going viral, shows a young woman parking her scooter and heading to the college building when students wearing saffron scarves shout “Jai Shri Ram” and advance towards her. Not to be cowed down, the Muslim student shouts back with equal vigour, waving her hands, “Allah hu Akbar!” She remains unfazed and keeps shouting back at them as she walks to her classes, followed by the boys. College officials are seen holding the boys back and escorting the girl student inside.

Also read: Students in Karnataka flout govt order & wear banned saffron scarves to college

Meanwhile, in Shivamogga, some students protesting against the hijab, threw stones at a government first grade college at Bapujinagar, in which some students suffered minor injuries. They were admitted to district McGann teaching hospital in the city.

The police have imposed prohibitory orders in Shivamogga city till February 9. The assembly of five or more people in public places has been banned.

In Udupi, people protesting for and against the hijab were seen shouting slogans outside the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (MGM), with the police trying to keep the situation in control.

The hijab protests began last month at the Government Girls PU college in Udupi when six students alleged they had been barred from classes for insisting on wearing the headscarf.  The row soon spread to other junior colleges in the district while in neighbouring Chikmagalur, boys at a government college staged a protest demanding that they be allowed to wear saffron scarves if Muslim girls could wear headscarves.

In the last week of January, five girl students moved the Karnataka High Court on the matter. The hearing on their petition seeking directions from the government and education department to allow them to wear hijab and attend classes begun today. In 

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