Hijab Row: Karnataka Classes 11-12, Colleges To Reopen On Wednesday


Chief Minister Bomai asked the authorities to make arrangements for security at campuses.


Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai ordered that proper security arrangements be made at campuses as schools and colleges reopen this week after a closure over the hijab row. Mr Bommai has promised a set of SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure) on the use of hijab, at the same time underscoring that “everyone must follow the High Court’s direction” in the matter.

The Karnataka High Court is hearing a clutch of petitions from girl students, challenging the bar on the use of head scarves in educational institutions — a matter that set off violent protests across the state since December.

At a meeting with Higher Education Minister Ashwath Narayan CN, Minority Welfare minister Shrimant Patil and Revenue Minister R Ashoka this evening, the Chief Minister took a call to reopen PU colleges from February 16.  Later in the evening, Mr Narayan’s office confirmed that decision has been taken to reopen all degree PG Diploma and all other Colleges too from the same day.

At the meeting, the Chief Minister instructed the authorities to make arrangements for security when the colleges reopen.

Earlier today, Mr Bommai announced the resumption of classes upto 10th standard.

“This evening, I’ll attend a meeting with our education minister. We will discuss what has happened and issue SOPs. Everyone must follow the High Court’s direction,” he added in a tweet.

The High Court has already appealed for peace and ordered that till the judgment is delivered, there will be no use of hijab in institutes that have no dress code.

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As schools re-opened this morning, social media was flooded with visuals from various schools where, teachers insisted that students remove headscarves before entering the campus. Some students went home, unwilling to comply. Parents’ plea that they be allowed to remove the headscarves once they were inside classrooms, went unheard.

At today’s hearing, senior advocate Devadatt Kamat representing the students contended that hijab is protected under the religious freedoms granted by the Constitution and despite the government order, no college development body is equipped to take a call on whether it can be barred.

Colleges cannot decide whether hijab is causing any public order violation, it is the job of the state and in handing it over to college authorities, the state is “abdicating its responsibilities”, he contended.

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