Schools till Class 10 will resume in Karnataka from Monday and the state government will take a decision on reopening colleges later, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Thursday amid intensifying protests over ban on hijabs in educational institutions, The News Minute reported.

Earlier on Thursday, Bommai held a meeting with state Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh, Higher Education Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan to discuss restarting schools.

Over the past few days, Hindu students and mobs of men have protested against Muslim women wearing hijabs to educational institutes at several places in Karnataka. At some colleges, Muslim students have been heckled, while in another case some men climbed up a flagpole to plant a saffron flag and broke into classrooms.

As tensions across the state rose, the Karnataka government on Tuesday ordered all high schools and colleges in the state to be shut between February 9 and February 11.

The chief minister on Thursday said that no untoward incidents have taken place in the past two days. “Students should not pay heed to provocative statements and maintain peace,” he added, according to The New Indian Express.

The Karnataka High Court is hearing petitions filed by students challenging the legality of the ban. On Thursday, a three-judge bench of the court said it will direct students not to wear “religious clothes” till an order is passed on whether students should be allowed to cover their heads in hijabs in educational institutions. The court posted the matter for further hearing at 2.30 pm on Monday.

Bommai referred to the High Court’s observations and said that students must follow the dress code, The News Minute reported.

The chief minister added that the government will issue directions to authorities to ensure that no untoward incidents take place when schools and colleges reopen.

“It is the duty of all organisations to ensure peace and harmony,” he said. “We should be sensitive with issues concerning children. As the High Court is seized of the matter, let us wait for the judgement.”

The matter

The issue began in January after six female Muslim students of the Government Women’s Pre-University College in Kundapura town of Udupi district staged a weeks-long protest after they were denied entry into their classes for wearing hijabs.

The matter snowballed to other colleges in Karnataka, with Hindu students supporting the hijab ban flocking to campuses in saffron colour scarves and intimidating Muslim students.

On February 5, the Karnataka government passed an order banning clothes that “disturb equality, integrity and public order”.