Hijab row: Karnataka colleges reopen amid tight security

Bengaluru: Amid the hijab crisis, the Karnataka government on Wednesday reopened pre-university, degree and diploma colleges under tight security arrangements.

Though the majority of students attended classes as per the guidelines of education institutions, many of them who refused to take off their hijab were sent back.

Several Congress workers were taken into custody for encouraging students to wear hijab.

Barring students, teachers and staff of colleges, movement of other persons have been restricted in the surrounding areas of the colleges.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra warned that the court order on uniform has to be strictly followed and that there is no question of students or anyone demanding wearing hijab or saffron shawls. “There will be an action on such persons. There will be serious consequences if the law of the land and constitution is not respected,” he stated.

Education Minister B.C. Nagesh requested the students to attend classes and focus on studies by following state guidelines.

Mandya and Davanagere district authorities have clamped prohibitory orders surrounding all schools and colleges as a preventive measure. Udupi district from where the hijab row began has virtually been converted into a police fortress.

Eight platoons of District Armed Reserve (DAR), two platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) and 700 police officers have been deployed on the premises of all colleges and schools in Udupi. MGM College of Udupi which witnessed high-drama regarding hijab earlier has declared holiday for indefinite period. The college administration has decided to take online classes.

Hijab-clad students of Kundapur PU Government College returned home after they were not allowed to attend classes. The students were given a separate room to remove their hijab. The students maintained that they would wait for the final order of the court and until then not attend classes.

Earlier, hijab wearing students were stopped at the gate and they sat on the road and protested the decision.

Bengaluru police have taken Congress workers into custody as they were found encouraging Muslim students to wear hijab and attend classes near Government PU College of Malleshwaram.

The police first warned them and asked them to leave the place by telling them that prohibitory orders are in place. However, Congress workers demanded court order. The Principal of the College stated that students attended classes without hijab earlier and they have not made a new rule. Later, Congress workers were taken into custody by the police.

High drama prevailed at Vijayapura Government PU College when hijab-clad students got into an argument with the Principal of the college for being denied permission to wear hijab and attend classes. More than 15 students argued that they should be allowed inside the classes as the final order of the court has not been issued yet. They refused to go back to their residences. “We want education as well as hijab,” they maintained.

Tight security arrangements were in place in Rabkavi Banhatti town of Bagalkot district where violent incidents were reported. Four students were injured and a teacher was attacked earlier and police resorted to lathi charge following stone pelting incidents. The students attended classes without hijab. Students in Yadgir, Ramnagar and Bengaluru Rural districts returned to their homes when they refuse to remove their hijab.

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