Schools can reopen for Classes 9 and 10 in Karnataka from Monday, the state government said today, three days after they were shut down amid a row over wearing hijab by students. Whether to allow pre-university, or PU, colleges for Classes 11 and 12 to reopen will be decided later. No decision has been taken yet for universities and higher education colleges.
Students till Classes 8 were, however, allowed to attend school as the shutdown affected only higher classes.
Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai had ordered all high schools and colleges to remain shut “to maintain peace and harmony” after separate groups of students marched to their colleges wearing saffron scarves and hijab.
The hijab protests began last month at the Government Girls PU College in Udupi when six students alleged that they had been barred from classes for insisting on wearing the headscarf. Right-wing groups in Udupi and Chikkamagaluru objected to Muslim girls wearing the hijab to class.
The Karnataka High Court is hearing petitions filed by five women from a government college in Udupi, questioning hijab restrictions.
The high court will continue hearing the matter on Monday. The court has asked students and the public at large to maintain peace.
The protests escalated on Tuesday after groups of protesters threw stones at each other and students at a college put up a saffron flag.
At a college in Mandya, a Muslim girl stood her ground as a large number of saffron scarf wearing boys heckled her and shouted slogans of “Jai Shri Ram”. She shouted back at them: “Allah hu Akbar!”
College rules allow students to wear the hijab in class but not during lessons, according to officials.
Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, however, has said children should “neither wear the hijab nor saffron scarves” in school.