UDUPI, India: A state in southern India reopened some schools on Monday (Feb 14) that had been closed following protests final week over feminine college students not being allowed to put on hijabs or head-to-toe burqas, in class.
The challenge, extensively seen by India’s Muslim minority group as a bid to sideline it by authorities in a Hindu-dominated nation, comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prepares for elections in key states.
Police stood guard as college students in pink uniforms, a few dozen sporting hijabs, entered a authorities woman’s college the place the problem first flared in Karnataka state’s district of Udupi, about 400km from the tech hub of Bengaluru.
Authorities have banned gatherings of greater than 5 folks inside 200m of instructional establishments in the world, which have begun courses from major to highschool, though greater grades and faculties are nonetheless shut.
The transfer got here after a state courtroom, which has set a listening to of the matter for Monday, advised college students to not put on any non secular clothes, starting from saffron shawls to scarves or hijabs, in school rooms till additional orders.
“Whether wearing of hijab in the classroom is a part of essential religious practice of Islam in the light of constitutional guarantees needs a deeper examination,” the courtroom stated in an interim order final week.
The challenge was spotlighted following protests final week after some schools refused entry to college students sporting the clothes, deemed to have fallen foul of a Feb 5 order on uniforms by the state, which is dominated by Modi’s BJP.
The celebration derives its help primarily from the bulk Hindu group, which kinds about 80 per cent of India’s inhabitants of roughly 1.4 billion, whereas Muslims account for about 13 per cent.
Ayesha Imthiaz, a scholar in Udupi, stated it was humiliating to be requested to take off the hijab earlier than class.
She felt her “religion had been questioned and insulted by a place which I had considered as a temple of education,” she advised Reuters on the weekend.
An official in the coastal district of Udupi, Pradeep Kurudekar S, advised reporters authorities would await additional orders from the courtroom or the federal government to renew all courses.
The challenge prompted expressions of help for Muslim women and girls from the US authorities and Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai.