Only high schools to open on February 14; colleges later

Karnataka's Minister for Primary and Secondary Education B.C. Nagesh

Karnataka's Minister for Primary and Secondary Education B.C. Nagesh

The State Government on Thursday decided to open all schools up to Class Xacross the State from Monday. However, all pre-university and degree colleges will be reopened at a later date.

With a three-judge bench of the High Court of Karnataka posting the next hearing on the petitions related to hijab issue on February 14, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the State Government would take a decision later on opening PU and degree colleges.

After a meeting with Education Minister B C Nagesh, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra and senior officials, Mr. Bommai said: “We have come to a decision to open schools up to Class X on Monday in the first stage and PU and degree colleges will be opened in the second stage.”

On Tuesday last, the Government ordered closure of schools across Karnataka till February 10 as the row over girls not being allowed to enter classrooms wearing hijab and a section of students insisting on wearing saffron shawls to the class led to protests in several parts of the State. The Government closed schools and colleges to prevent further escalation of the issue.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr. Bommai said peace and harmony now prevailed on school and college campuses and there were no untoward incidents for the last two days. The Bench, headed by Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, had ordered that it would be hearing the matter on a day-to-day basis and till then peace be restored in colleges. To maintain peace, it observed that wearing of religion-based dress were to be avoided on college campuses and indicated the opening of schools, the Chief Minister said.

Mr. Bommai said he and all the Ministers would hold a videoconference with Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police, Chief Executive Officers of zilla panchayats and Education Department officials in all districts to take stock of the ground realities. The Education and Home Ministers and senior officials of both the departments would be in touch with the district administration to maintain peace and normalcy.

Earlier in the morning, the Chief Minister said: “All organisations have the responsibility of maintaining peace and communal harmony. We will wait for the court order. In a democracy, we have to respect the court’s order.”

Mr. Bommai appealed to the peopleto maintain peace as the High Court was hearing the matter. “If we maintain a peaceful atmosphere, the court can offer a solution. I appeal to all to wait for a court decision. Don’t make statements that disturb peace,” the Chief Minister said.

Mr. Bommai said the Government would take all steps to ensure harmony, discipline, and peace in schools and colleges.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2022 11:57:44 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/only-high-schools-to-open-on-february-14-colleges-later/article38411489.ece