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Indian police registers case against Muslim girls for ‘Hijab Protest’

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BENGALURU: The FIR was filed under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) for the protest held outside Girls Empress Govt PU College in Tumkuru.

School staff places a banner with the high court’s interim order over the hijab ban, on the entrance of Desheeya Vidhyashala Samithi PU College, in Shivamogga.

A first information report (FIR) was registered against at least 20 female students for violating court orders, by staging a protest over the hijab issue outside a college in Karnataka on February 17.

This comes a day after the Karnataka government contended before the high court that the hijab is not an essential religious practice of Islam and preventing its use does not violate Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom.

The high court is hearing a batch of petitions filed by some Muslim girls against the ban on wearing the headscarf inside educational institutions. 

A full bench of the high court, comprising chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, justice JM Khazi and justice Krishna S Dixit, is hearing the matter. 

In an interim order, the court has restrained students from wearing any religious attire on the campus till a final order is passed on the matter.

In their plea, the girls have said banning hijab amounted to banning the holy Quran. Counsel Vinod Kulkarni, appearing on behalf of the Muslim girls, said, “Poor Muslim girls are suffering because of restriction on wearing hijab. I request the court to pass an order allowing girls to wear hijab on Friday, which is Jumma day for the Muslim, and during the holy month of Ramzan.”  

Schools have reopened in the southern state during the week after days of remaining shut following widespread protests over the issue.  Cases were registered against some people for violating the prohibitory orders issued by the Shivamogga district authority under Section 144 of the CrPC. They had staged a protest against the PU College authorities in the district headquarter town for not allowing the Muslim girls to wear Burqa on the campus.

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