• Karnataka Hijab Row: No religious symbols 'for now', reopen schools: HC

    Digital Desk: All students, regardless of religion or creed, are barred from wearing "saffron shawls (bhagwa), scarves, hijabs, or religious flags within classrooms," a full bench of the Karnataka high court decided in an interim order on the Karnataka Hijab Row and that it stated applies only to schools that have a dress code or uniform. "We would like to issue an interim order regarding the hijab controversy. The state must regain its peace. Schools and colleges must reopen as quickly as possible. This is not the final arrangement. Students must attend school in uniform, without hijab or saffron shawls, until the final order is issued" Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, who is leading a three-judge panel considering the case, presided over the session. The orders were given verbally, and written orders have yet to be released. Also Read: Jaishankar gifts his Australian counterpart Virat Kohli autographed cricket bat "We will hear the case every day and give orders as quickly as possible," CJ Awasthi stated. At this stage, the bench, which also includes Justice Krishna S. Dixit and Justice Khaji Jaibunnesa Mohiyuddin, rejected petitioners' arguments seeking directives from the government enabling students to wear hijab in classrooms. Earlier, during the hearing, the Chief Justice directed Advocate General Prabhuling Navadagi to open schools throughout the state. "School closures are not a good thing. Take the necessary steps and hold classes. Make certain that no problems arise "He stated this. In the midst of the unrest, the state government declared a three-day holiday for schools and universities on Tuesday. During the hearing, senior counsel Sanjay Hegde, representing a petitioner, argued that the Karnataka government has no authority to create standard guidelines under the Karnataka Education Act of 1983. The rules on uniform could be framed by the the College Development Committee (CDC) and School Development and Management Committee (SDMC), he maintained. How judicious it is to force prohibitions for the reason of hijab... if prohibitions are clamped for the public interest, it is tenable. The medical student was allowed to write examinations wearing hijab in 2015 as per the court orders. Wearing of dress comes under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution. The Supreme Court decision in the Divya Yadav case discussed the right to wear dresses of their choice," he said. The wearing of a hijab is a religious right, according to Article 25 (1). Sikhs are allowed to carry daggers and are excused from wearing helmets, he noted. The petitioners arguing for hijab stated that wearing it is not harmful to students. Hijab is a fundamental right that causes no harm to others, so they should be permitted to wear hijab of the same colour as their uniform, they argue, alleging that the government issued a uniform circular "hurriedly." The Karnataka Hijab Row began last month, when a few students at Udupi Government Pre-University College who wore hijab were denied permission to attend lessons. According to the college administration, pupils who previously did not wear hijabs have suddenly begun wearing them. Later, the students went on strike, refusing to attend lessons without wearing a headscarf. The issue became a source of contention and expanded to other districts, causing friction and sometimes violence.

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