The Bengaluru police chief today further extended by two weeks the ban on protests and agitations for and against the “strict implementation of the schools/colleges uniform rules” in Bengaluru city. The ban on protests within a 200-meter radius of any school, college and other educational institutions in the city was first imposed on February 9 for two weeks following widespread protests that show no signs of abating. It has now been extended till March 8.
The ban order had said that at some places, the protests were disturbing “public peace and order” and hence it was considered “very essential” to initiate proper security measures.
“Since the issue is still alive and possibility of holding protests, for and against the same in Bengaluru city cannot be ruled out, it is considered appropriate to extend the aforementioned prohibitory order,” the fresh order issued today said.
Two days ago, the Dakshina Kannada district administration in Karnataka also extended the prohibitory orders currently in place in the schools and colleges of the district till February 26.
The row over hijab (headscarves) has escalated with incidents of stone-pelting and young Muslim women being harassed by saffron-clad students making headlines.
The murder of a Bajrang Dal activist on Sunday in Shivamogga has further inflamed tensions leading to protests and arson. The police have said the murder has “nothing to do with the hijab controversy” and that it was an old rivalry between gangs of youths who knew each other. However, a Karnataka Minister has blamed it on “Muslim goons” and linked it to the Hijab row.
The protests in the state started late last year when school students were prevented from wearing the headscarf. It has since sparked protests and counter-demonstrations involving saffron scarves that have spread to other states as well.
In an attempt to calm tensions, Karnataka’s state government had temporarily closed schools but they have gradually opened since.
Through an interim order, the Karnataka High Court has imposed a temporary ban on the wearing of all religious symbols in schools while it considers the headscarf ban.