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Bengaluru:
Karnataka schools (up to Class 10) re-opened today amid controversy over the state barring Muslim students from wearing a hijab during classes. Classes 11 and 12 are closed till Wednesday. Petitions against the ban are being heard by the High Court. Here are the top 10 points in this big story:As schools re-opened this morning visuals poured in of students forced to remove their hijabs before entering campuses. One clip showed a teacher from a state-aided school in Mandya district saying “remove that, remove that (the hijab)” to students.The clip also showed some parents asking that their children be allowed to wear a hijab till inside the building, but permission was refused. They were only allowed to enter after removing their hijabs.In Udupi district – where the controversy erupted in December- a Class 9 student at a government-run school told NDTV that a classmate and she both had to remove their hijabs to attend class.In Shivamogga 13 students – 10 from Class 10, two from Class 9 and one from Class 8 – went home after rather than remove their hijabs. Their parents said: “We brought them to write an exam…they didn’t wear burqa, only hijab. Earlier all (students) wore hijabs… we cannot let them take the hijab off, that is why we’re taking them back.”Other visuals shared online also show teachers (from the same school in Mandya) also being ordered to remove burqas before entering the school campus; they were shown removing the burqas by the side of the road and not inside the school building.Ahead of today’s classes, orders banning large gatherings were announced in districts like Udupi and Shivamogga, which witnessed tense stand-offs between students demanding the right to wear a hijab and those opposed, including right-wing groups brandishing saffron shawls and scarves, and shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’.In Mangaluru, prohibitory orders are in place for 200 metres around all high schools. In Udupi assemblies of five or more people near schools have been banned. On Sunday, police in Shivamogga – where last week people danced and cheered as a saffron flag was flown on campus – banned gatherings on or around school premisesA three-member bench of the Karnataka High Court, led by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and comprising Justice Krishna S Dixit and Justice JM Khazi, has resumed its hearing. Last week, in a contentious interim order, the court ruled that schools and colleges could reopen but no religious clothing, including hijabs, would be allowed.The order was challenged in the Supreme Court – on grounds it violated students’ constitutional rights – but Chief Justice NV Ramana only said: “We will interfere only at an appropriate time” and was unmoved despite the case’s “far-reaching implications”. The top court earlier refused to hear a petition challenging a state order banning clothes that “disturb equality, integrity and public order”.Protests have escalated rapidly over the past few weeks. Last week Muskan, a young student in Mandya, was heckled by saffron-waving male aggressors. The protests have been noticed worldwide, with Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and French footballer Paul Pogba supporting the Muslim students.With input from ANI, PTI



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