Protests spread as students with hijab turned away in Karnataka

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Protests over hijab ban spread across the southern Indian state of Karnataka on Wednesday as the government reopened pre-university, degree and diploma colleges under tight security arrangements. Many educational institutions sent back students who refused to take off their hijab.

Hijab-wearing students of Kundapur Pre-University Government College returned home as 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 till then they won’t attend classes.

Earlier, hijab-wearing students, who were stopped at the college gate, sat on the road protesting the decision.

At Vijayapura Pre-University Government College, students in hijab picked up an argument with the principal of the college for denying permission to attend classes in hijab. More than 15 students argued that they should be allowed inside the classes pending final order from the court. They refused to go back home. “We want education as well as hijab,” they maintained.

Tight security was in place in Rabkavi Banhatti town of Bagalkot district from where violent incidents were reported. Earlier, four students were injured and a teacher was attacked 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 home after refusing to remove their hijab.

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 protests on hijab issue earlier has declared holiday for indefinite period. The college administration has decided to take online classes.

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