What is going on in India? Schools closed amid protests against headscarf ban

Karnataka – India (AFP) 02/09/2022 10:20

Protests in southern India against the ban on headscarves in schools

  • Protests against hijab ban in Indian classrooms escalate

  • Head of Karnataka Islamic Girls Organization: Hijab ban violates personal choice

India witnessed a state of controversy during the past few days, following the decision of some schools in the state of Karnataka The south of the country prevented Muslim students from wearing the hijab. .
After protests escalated in it against a decision to ban the wearing of the headscarf, which fueled the anger of Muslim students, the authorities in a southern Indian state ordered secondary schools to close their doors for three days.

Clashes escalated on school campuses between Muslim students condemning the ban and Hindus who say their classmates are disrupting their studies.

“Suddenly they ask us not to wear the hijab… why now?” said Aisha, a student at Mahatma Gandhi University in Udupi. She added that a teacher kicked her out of the chemistry exam for wearing the hijab.

“We are not against any religion. We are not protesting against anyone. We are only asking for our rights,” she told AFP.

Aisha, Student, Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College

And the crisis that erupted in Karnataka state, has raised fears among the Muslim minority of what it sees as increasing persecution under the Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Tuesday, new demonstrations witnessed the police firing tear gas canisters to disperse protesters on the campus of a government school, and a heavy police presence in schools in neighboring towns.
And last month, public high school students were asked not to wear the hijab, in a decree that was quickly adopted by other educational institutions in the state.

Clashes escalated on school campuses between Muslim students condemning the ban and Hindus who say their classmates are disrupting their studies.

= Somaya Roshan, President of the Islamic Girls Organization of Karnataka, at a press conference: Banning headscarves violates the personal choice of female students, which does not harm anyone else.

The state’s Supreme Court is expected to hear the petitions on Tuesday before deciding whether to repeal the headscarf ban and allow veiled schoolgirls to return to school.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bhumi called on all students, teachers, school and university administrations and the state’s residents to “maintain peace and harmony (with each other).”

In turn, the state’s education minister, B.C. Najesh, the school uniform was determined after considering court orders from across the country banning the wearing of headscarves in educational institutions.

The state government, which has a 12% Muslim population and is governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, had issued an order on February 5 requiring all schools to follow departmental school uniforms.

Since Modi’s election in 2014, India has experienced a sharp decline in democracy and a steady spread of anti-Muslim mob violence.

Where Modi’s opponents assert that his BJP turns a blind eye to existing discrimination against Muslims and passes laws that clearly marginalize Muslims, and that it even “oppresses minorities, including the country’s Muslim minority” of 22 million people.

But Modi’s government rejects the accusation that it has a Hindu agenda, and stresses that Indians of all faiths have equal rights.

In this context, mosques, homes and shops of Muslims in the Indian state of Tripura, were attacked and vandalized by “Hindu extremist gangs”.

Crisis details

Specifically, when last month female students were prevented from entering their classrooms and told not to wear the hijab, they began camping outside the girls’ only high school.

Social media pioneers shared the details of the crisis at the time, as well as attracting news crews to the front of the government-run school in Udupi district in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

The students began to protest outside the school gate and sat in a group reading their lessons, and the media reported at the time that the students were defying the school dress code, unaffected.

A month later, more schools began implementing a similar ban on headscarves, forcing the state’s Supreme Court to step in.

Hundreds of them, including their fathers, took to the streets to protest the restrictions, demanding that female students be allowed to attend classes even if they were wearing headscarves.

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