Schools up to Class 10 reopened in Karnataka on Monday after having been shut for six days as large-scale demonstrations erupted in the state after Muslim students in some colleges were banned from class for wearing the hijab or headscarf, PTI reported.
Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has been imposed in some areas in the districts of Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Bengaluru. Under the section, assembly of five or more people around the school perimeter is not allowed.
The tehsildar of the Udupi district said that students are going to schools and the situation is peaceful, according to ANI. He added that the district administration is following the Karnataka High Court’s interim order restraining students of all faiths from wearing religious clothing in the classroom.
Meanwhile, visuals shared by The Quint from the Rotary Educational Society School in Mandya district showed students removing their hijabs at the gate.
On Sunday, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai expressed confidence that peace and normalcy will prevail.
On Saturday, the Karnataka government extended the shutdown of pre-university colleges in the state till February 16. State Higher Education Minister CN Ashwathnarayan, however, said online examinations will be held as per schedule.
Last week, Hindu students and mobs of men protested against Muslim women wearing hijabs to educational institutes at several places in Karnataka. Many of them wore saffron scarves as a mark of protest.
At some colleges, Muslim students were 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 February 8 ordered all high schools and colleges in the state to be temporarily closed.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court will on Monday continue hearing a group of petitions challenging the ban on hijabs in educational institutions. The hearing is slated to begin at 2.30 pm.
On February 10, the court had stated that while all citizens have the right to profess and practice any faith, it is subject to reasonable restrictions under the Constitution. The order added that the matter as to whether wearing a hijab in a classroom is an essential religious practice of Islam needs a deeper examination.