As Class 10 examinations began in Karnataka on Monday, state ministers directed students to obey the recent High Court order on the ban on hijab in educational institutions, PTI reported Home Minister Araga Jnanendra told the news agency that action will be taken against students who violate the order.

“Everyone should obey the High Court order...Students have to remove hijab and write the exam,” he said.

In a circular issued on Friday, the state’s primary and secondary education department had ordered that students of state-run schools should appear for the exams in uniform prescribed by the government. In the case of private schools, students should wear the uniform prescribed by the respective school managements, the circular added, according to the Hindustan Times.

On Monday, students could be seen removing their hijabs before entering the exam centres.

Some students had to miss the examinations after not being allowed to enter the school premises for being dressed in hijabs.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh, who visited some of the exam centres on Monday also told PTI that police will take action against those who violate the government rules.

On Sunday, Nagesh had asked students protesting against the hijab ban to “shed their ego and not become scapegoat for others”, The News Minute reported.

The hijab ban case

In December, a group of Muslim girl students of the Government Women’s Pre-University College in Udupi city were not allowed to attend classes for being dressed in hijab. The students staged a protest and similar demonstrations were held in other parts of the state too.

On February 5, the Karnataka government passed an order banning clothes that “disturb equality, integrity and public order”. The students moved the High Court against the ban.

On March 15, the High Court upheld the ban, ruling that hijab is not essential to Islam.

Many students had skipped their practical exams, held in February and March, hoping that the court’s judgement would be in their favour.

When it did not happen, the students sought re-examinations. However, last week, the Karnataka government ruled out holding re-examinations for those who had skipped them due to the hijab protests.

“We will not create a precedent by holding re-exams for absentees,” Nagesh had said. “They can appear for supplementary exams like everyone else. We are not going to make an exception.”