Karnataka Hijab Row: Protests Banned, Hijab Versus Saffron Protests, Key Points

Udupi: The row over the use of hijab or headscarves by women in educational institutions created a big havoc in parliament today. The police has banned the gatherings and protests near educational institutions, in Bangalore. 

As per the order of city police chief, any gathering, agitation or protests within a 200-meter radius of any school, college and other educational institutions are not permitted for two weeks.

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.

While speaking with media, Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh, who raised the hijab issue in Rajya Sabha, said “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”.

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 ANI 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.

Earlier this week in many parts of the state Hijab versus saffron protests broke out. 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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