Karnataka schools to reopen today; Sec 144 in pockets

Karnataka schools to reopen today; Sec 144 in pockets

The Karnataka government will reopen classes 9 and 10 from Monday and soon decide on restarting colleges, closed since a row over an Udupi college restricting Muslim students from wearing the hijab in classrooms escalated and spread across the state and beyond.

The state government had clamped Section 144 in sensitive areas for a
week and extracted assurances from community members they wouldn’t
escalate the hijab row further.

“I’ve instructed district deputy commissioners and SPs to take necessary
precautions and hold peace committee meetings. Based on the situation
on Monday, we will take a decision on reopening of colleges,” CM
Basavaraj Bommai said on Sunday

The Karnataka HC will hear writ petitions on the hijab ban Monday. In an interim order released Thursday, court restrained students from wearing saffron shawls, scarves, hijab or religious flags in classrooms until further notice. It had said the order is confined to institutions where college development committees have prescribed a dress code or uniform for students.

Section 144 has been clamped in sensitive areas, including Mysuru and Udupi. The order will be in force from 6am on February 14 to 6pm on February 19. Assembly of five or more people, protests and rallies of all kinds are banned. No one except students and staff will be allowed within 200m of schools.

Schools are classified as A (hypersensitive), B (sensitive) and C (normal) in different locations. The education department has been advised to depute more staff at school gates and classrooms to ensure adherence to the HC’s interim order on uniform.

Department of public instructions commissioner R Vishal said officials have been speaking to deputy commissioners across the state and expected student attendance on Monday to return to the pre-controversy level.

Peace committee meetings were being held within police station limits. Meetings with organisations that have submitted representations and memoranda are being conducted at taluk level.