Staff, Students Asked to Remove Hijab at Gates as Karnataka Schools Reopen

New Delhi: As high schools reopened in Karnataka on Monday, February 15, tweets from across the state have surfaced, showing students and teachers allegedly being forced to remove their burqas and hijabs.

All educational institutions in Karnataka had been shut since last Wednesday, February 9, after a pre-university college’s decision to bar girl students in hijabs from entering the classroom led to protests and counter-agitations across the state, and later, India.

The Karnataka high court, in its interim order pending consideration of all petitions related to the hijab row, had restrained all students from wearing saffron shawls, scarves, hijab and any religious flag within the classroom.

On Monday, high schools were reopened amidst Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code imposed in areas of Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Bengaluru. In places, enforcement of this order led to scenes that were captured on video.

The news agency ANI has tweeted a video purportedly showing a teacher asking students to remove their hijab before entering the school in Mandya town of Mandya district. An altercation is seen, in which, according to ANI, a parent is heard requesting the teacher to allow students into the classroom so that they can take their hijab off after that. “But they are not allowing entry with hijab,” the parent purportedly says.

The discussion takes place in Kannada and the translation is ANI’s.

Journalists Deepak Bopanna also tweeted videos from the same Mandya school, showing how teachers and staff too were forced to take off their hijabs before entering the school.

Journalist Imran Khan tweeted that Mandya district administration had issued instructions to schools to not allow teachers in with the hijab, mandating that the hijab must be removed at the gate itself.

The videos show women, purportedly members of staff, complying with the order.

Several on Twitter pointed to the public humiliation that Muslim girls and women were being made to go through.


Journalist Nikhila Henry tweeted a video from Shimoga noting that students left the campus after refusing to take off their hijab. Henry observed how the Karnataka high court order against religious clothing has led to Muslim students thus missing classes.



Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai had noted on Sunday that the decision regarding reopening of pre-university and degree colleges will be taken after assessing the situation.

In Udupi, thhsildar Pradeep Kurudekar, who visited a few schools, told the news agency PTI that Muslim students were abiding by the high court’s interim order by removing hijabs before entering classes.

Featured image: Students in Shimoga walk away from their school after refusing to take off the hijab. Photo: Video screengrab/Twitter/@NikhilaHenry

This article was first published on The Wire.