Hijab-saffron shawl row turns violent on many campuses across State

Prohibitory orders in Shivamogga; tension in more colleges in coastal Karnataka

Published - February 09, 2022 12:08 am IST - Bengaluru

Students wearing hijab and saffron shawls at MGM PU college in Udupi on Tuesday.

Students wearing hijab and saffron shawls at MGM PU college in Udupi on Tuesday.

Tension over the issue of dress code not only spread to more colleges but also took a violent turn on many campuses on Tuesday across Karnataka. Protests and counter protests over wearing hijab or saffron shawl in classrooms continued, with instances of stone pelting, lathicharge, and detention as preventive measure reported.

Marches and slogans

At Shivamogga, the protests turned violent, forcing the district administration to clamp prohibitory orders until Wednesday evening in the city. Hundreds of students took part in the protests against hijab on college campuses, while those in support of hijab took out a march.

The protest turned violent as both the group came face to face on B.H. Road near the Science Field. A few protesters threw stones, leaving a couple of students injured. There was police force deployed on all college campuses in the district. At Sagar town in the same district, as many as seven people suffered injuries during stone-pelting.

The protest and counter-protests took a violent turn in Banahatti town of Bagalkot district too, where few among the protesters allegedly pelted stones on the government college premises, forcing the police to use canes to disperse the protesters. Trouble started after saffron shawl-clad students gained forceful entry on the college premises and staged protest while hijab-clad girl students accompanied by their parents sat on dharna on the Jamakhandi-Kudachi Road. One student was injured in the incident.

In another incident reported from Sindhanur in Raichur district, 12 students were taken into preventive custody after tension mounted outside government degree college as two groups entered into arguments. They were released later after taking written undertaking from them.

At Government PU College, Mannur in Afzalpur taluk, Kalaburagi district, the principal managed to convince students to attend classes after taking out shawls and hijabs. Of the seven hijab-clad girls, five attended classes after taking off hijabs, while two returned saying they required their parents’ permission to do so.

Meanwhile, at Udupi district, where the row had its genesis, yet another college campus saw tension. The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial PU College declared a holiday after some students turned up wearing saffron shawls with saffron peta and another lot turned up wearing hijab. After holiday was declared, students gathered both inside and outside the campus protesting against each other.

In addition, Government First Grade College at Vamadapadavu in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada also declared holiday even before Government's announcement to prevent the situation from going out of control.

A student, Varshi, who was sporting a saffron shawl told mediapersons outside the college that students wore the shawls and peta as some had turned up wearing hijab. Asked whether students were wearing hijab earlier to the college, she said they did. “But as per the Government Order now, it is not allowed,” she said.

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