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Hijab row: Karnataka govt bans gatherings, protests near schools, colleges for 2 weeks

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Wednesday, February 9, banned gatherings, protests of any type within the area of a 200-metre radius from the gates of schools, PU colleges, degree colleges or other similar educational institutions in Bengaluru for two weeks.

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The restrictive order comes a day after protests over hijab row turned violent with incidents of stone-pelting forcing chief minister Basavaraj Bommai to order the closure of all educational institutions for three days. The order banning protest will be implemented with immediate effect but only to Bengaluru.

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The Karnataka High Court, which is hearing petitions filed by five women from a government college in Udupi, questioning hijab restrictions, today referred the matter to a larger bench.

“Having regard to the enormity of questions of importance which are debated, the court is of the considered opinion that the papers be put at the hand of CJ to decide if a larger bench can be constituted in the subject matter,” said Justice Krishna Dixit in the order.

The order said it has been noticed that in certain parts of the state, in the last few days, protests and allegations have been held in connection with strict enforcement of schools/colleges uniform rules. As at some places, these protests have led to violence, disturbing public peace and order and there is a possibility of similar agitations and protests in Bengaluru city, the ban has been imposed, the order said.

“If any one considers to have been adversely affected by this order, he can file an appeal to modify or cancellation of this order to this office or the government of Karnataka respectively,” the order said.

Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh, who raised the hijab issue in Rajya Sabha, told media, “A daughter is respected… there should not be any play with her honor. The whole world has seen that you are molesting a girl by taking the name of Lord Maryada Purushottam Ram. The BJP is promoting this controversy”.

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Karnataka’s education minister BC Nagesh claimed today that the burqa-clad college student who was caught on camera yesterday standing up to a mob of saffron scarf-clad people, made the first move in her show of defiance.

“The students didn’t want to gherao the girl who was coming outside the college in Mandya. No other student was around her when she shouted “Allah-hu-Akbar”… Can’t encourage “Allah hu Akbar’ or ‘Jai Shri Ram’ on campus,” Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh was quoted as saying by news agency today.

Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi was quick to hit back, saying, “The men in saffron shawls who heckled a Muslim girl wearing a Hijab were goondas”.

Yesterday, Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai had ordered the closure of all high schools and colleges for three days “to maintain peace and harmony” as the Karnataka High Court, which is hearing petitions on the issue, appealed for peace.

Hijab versus saffron protests broke out in parts of the state earlier this week. In Shivamogga district, violence broke out inside the Government PU college campus where a group of saffron-clad students threw stones and hoisted a saffron flag, after which the district administration imposed prohibitory order banning large gatherings till Wednesday midnight.

The controversy started last month, with six students of the Udupi’s Government Girls PU college alleging that they were barred from classes for insisting on wearing the headscarves. The matter escalated as many students took a confrontational position and showed up in saffron scarves.

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