Ruling on headscarves in India: Court upholds Karnataka ban that led to religious clashes

The state’s Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that hijab is not a “fundamental religious practice of the Islamic faith” and rejected a raft of petitions by Muslim students to bar entry to classes at multiple schools and colleges across the state.

The court also ruled that the requirement for students to wear school uniform was a “constitutionally reasonable and permissible limitation that students cannot object to.”

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bhumi called for calm after the ruling, which authorities fear will spark religious protests.

“I am asking everyone to abide by the order of the Supreme Court and to maintain peace and order,” Bomai told reporters on Tuesday. “And let the children do their education as usual.”

The controversy erupted after students staged a small protest in January They are asking to be allowed Inside the classroom while wearing Islamic clothes.

Their demonstration sparked rival protests from a right-wing Hindu campaign saffron scarves – a color widely associated with Hinduism – – and chanting a Hindu religious slogan in support of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The dispute was considered a symbol of deepening religious tensions in the country. where Authorities ordered the closure of all high schools and colleges for several days to discourage protests in early February. Gatherings in the state capital, Bengaluru, outside educational institutions have also been banned for two weeks.

There are also dozens of women from other Indian cities, including the capital, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Calcutta They took to the streets to support Muslim girls.

The state authorities had upheld the headscarf ban, citing the state’s mandate regarding religious dress.

Hijab protests spread in India as girls refuse to be told what not to wear

But experts and activists say the controversy over the headscarf runs deeper than just the dress code, claiming it indicates a broader crackdown on India’s Muslim minority since the Bharatiya Janata Party took power nearly eight years ago.

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Karnataka – where only 13% of the population is Muslim – is ruled by the BJP, and the state has already passed legislation that critics say favors Hindus.

Attorney Muhammad Tahir, who represented a group of petitioners in court, told CNN last month that Karnataka was a “hotbed” of Hindutva ideology, backed by many right-wing groups seeking to make India the land of Hindus.

“We welcome the verdict. However, we are not yet certain of the reasoning,” the girls’ attorney, Chatapesh Shivana, told CNN of Tuesday’s ruling. “We will talk to the petitioners and then we will look for the legal recourse we want to take.”

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