Hijab row: Teargas fired in Karnataka college campus

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Amid the Karnataka High Court hearing the hijab matter, more incidents of violence were reported from an educational institute in the state on Tuesday.

The police fired teargas shells and carried out a baton charge to quell the violent mob in the Harihar First Grade College campus in Davanagere district.

Following the violence, the district administration has clamped prohibitory orders in Davanagere and Harihar twin cities.

According to eyewitnesses, several policemen and students were injured in the violent incident. Many two-wheelers have been damaged and a tense situation prevails in the Davanagere town. Police have been deployed at all sensitive places.

Local Congress MLA Ramappa has rushed to the spot to pacify the students. However, outraged students had a heated debate with the MLA.
As many as 2,500 students study in Harihar College. The trouble started when a group of people came to the college in support of the hijab. The group got into an argument with the students wearing saffron shawls and soon the situation turned violent.

Sensing the danger, the police rushed to the spot and asked the mob standing outside to move out of the college area. The group of outsiders did not budge and refused to move. They claimed that they have to protect the hijab-wearing students. This was objected by the other group of students wearing saffron shawls and soon stone pelting began.

To quell the mob, police fired teargas and carried out baton charge.

The town had witnessed protests on Monday night also after an objectionable social media post. The incident turned communal when ‘Pakistan zindabad’ slogans were raised. The police however brought the situation under control.

The tense situation continued in Davanagere Pre-University College as there was confrontation between outsiders and students. The police taking no chances resorted to lathi charge and dispersed the crowd.

Meanwhile, the High Court is hearing the matter of Hijab row and it is expected to give its verdict later in the day. The government has stated that it would come out with a clear cut order on wearing of hijab along with uniform once the court rules on the matter.

Prohibitory orders clamped

Prohibitory orders have been clamped in Shivamogga district of Karnataka on Tuesday following incidents of violence due to hijab row. Considering the volatility of the situation, the district administration has issued curfew orders to stop mobs and students from stone pelting. The agitating students wearing saffron shawl hoisted ‘Bhagva dhwaj’ in the college premises.

Education Minister B.C. Nagesh has given directions to the Education Department to take a call on declaring two-day holiday for the colleges and schools based on the prevailing situation which is turning violent in the backdrop of hijab row.

Even as violence broke out due to the hijab row, the Education Department on Tuesday announced PUC (Class 12) annual examinations to be held between April 16 and May 6.

Shivamogga Superintendent of Police Lakshmiprasad stated that the violence started between two groups of students and they pelted stones at each other. Two students got hurt and the police are still looking for injured persons. The police are looking into how the stone pelting started, he said.

R. Selvamani, District Commissioner of Shivamogga district said that the students were being sent back as a preventive measure to avoid confrontation. A complaint on stone pelting has been received and investigation will be taken up, he said.

Sources said the police have taken four students of Shivamogga Government College into custody following the eruption of violence and their parents have objected to the action by the police. The miscreants have pelted stones at one of the private buses in the city.

Activists in support of students wearing hijab, stage a protest against the order mandating uniforms stipulated by the state government or respective managements of the institutions at Chamarajpet, in Bengaluru on Monday, February 07, 2022. (Photo: Dhananjay yadav/IANS)

Meanwhile, four persons have been taken into custody in Banahatti of Bagalkot district as violence and stone pelting erupted between two groups of students. The violence has spilled over to other areas of the city as well.

Opposition raises issue in Parliament

The opposition raised the Karnataka hijab row in the Lok Sabha and many MPs moved adjournment motions. The Congress, IUML and some other members raised the issue which is hogging the national attention these days.

T.N. Prathapan, Congress MP said, “I request the Education Minister to intervene in this matter to ensure the constitutional rights of the students are upheld and matter is resolved.”

Earlier, IUML Lok Sabha MPs had given adjournment notice to demand discussion on the Udupi Hijab row in Karnataka which took place recently.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Education Minister B.C. Nagesh urged the students not to get provoked and follow government orders.

Addressing the media, Bommai, who is currently in New Delhi, said all the students must follow the state government order issued regarding uniforms.

The students must not make any attempt to disturb peace, he added.
“The court order is coming tomorrow (Tuesday). The state government will take a decision on the issue once the order comes. As the case is before the court I don’t want to speak on it,” he said.

Activists in support of students wearing hijab, stage a protest against the order mandating uniforms stipulated by the state government or respective managements of the institutions at Chamarajpet, in Bengaluru on Monday, February 07, 2022. (Photo: Dhananjay yadav/IANS)

Lashing out at the government, Congress leader in the legislative council B.K. Hariprasad said, “BJP is fishing in dangerous waters by meddling in Hijab-Saffron row in Udupi district. It shows their sinister plans to create issues out of nothing for petty political gains. BJP is posing risk to students’ education which is already affected by the pandemic.”

The state Education Minister defended the order of sending hijab wearing and saffron cladding students to separate rooms in the Udupi Government PU College, adding that the government will frame rules on uniform after High Court order.

The management of Kundapur Government Pre University College also sent hijab wearing and saffron shawls cladding students to separate rooms inside the premises of the college.

The College Development Committee spokesperson Mohan Das Shenoy stated that Muslim students who are agitating outside would be allowed inside the college premises and given a separate room. However, they won’t be allowed to attend classes until they remove the hijab as per the government order.

The hijab row has now spread across the state, including in Chikkaballapur, Chikkamagalur, Hassan, Mandya, Vijayapura.
It has affected seven colleges in Udupi alone, while also spread to Bommai’s native district of Haveri.

The row took a new turn with students of IDSG College in Chikkamaglur district, who came in blue shawls in support of wearing the hijab by Muslim students.

They raised ‘Jai Bheem’ slogans and condemned the communalisation of education.

After declaring a holiday at the Shanteshwar PUC College and GRB Colleges in Vijayapura, the saffron shawl wearing students gathered in front of the entrance gates and raised the slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

The Muslim students who came wearing the hijab have said that they were not bothered about the state government’s order and were awaiting for the directive from the High Court of Karnataka on the matter.

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