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Karnataka Hijab Row: Saffron Flag Hoisted in Shimoga College, Sec 144 Imposed

This comes as protests erupt in Karnataka against the wearing of Hijab in schools and colleges.

Updated
India
3 min read

Video Producer: Mayank Chawla
Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam

Tension prevailed in the Government First Grade College, Bapuji Nagar, in Karnataka's Shimoga after a saffron flag was hoisted in its premises on Tuesday, 8 February. Shimoga SP BM Laxmi Prasad, however, has said that the flag was later removed by those who had hoisted it.

This comes as 'protests' erupt in the state of Karnataka against the wearing of Hijab by Muslim girls in educational institutions.

As per the visuals that have emerged since, the flag was hoisted by a student who was among a group of saffron-clad protestors, demonstrating against the wearing of hijab.

Visuals of the incident show a student climbing the flag pole at the college campus and hoisting a saffron flag, as a group of students, wearing saffron scarfs cheer him on.

The incident triggered violence in the campus, and police was deployed amidst the chaos. Stone pelting and lathi-charge ensued thereafter, and in Shimoga, eight students were detained.

As many as 20 people have been detained and, as a precautionary measure, the police has imposed Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code in the area for 8 February and 9 February.
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Some reports also claimed that the saffron flag was hoisted in place of the national flag. However, refuting those reports, the Shimoga SP said:

"There was a report that the national flag was lowered and in place of that a saffron flag was put up but there was no national flag on the poll. Only a saffron flag was hoisted on top of the poll and later they removed it themselves."

Three FIRs as Groups 'Clash' Across Karnataka

The SP was also quoted by ANI as saying that there were many incidents of stone pelting and "clashes between two groups of students in Shimoga district". These, as per the SP took place majorly within city limits and initially in a government degree college.

"Some outside elements pelted stones, we'll be making arrest very shortly," he further added.

SP BM Laxmi Prasad also said that they have registered three FIRs in the matter.

Further, the SP credited the police with having behaved very patiently, saying that this was done "because these are all student crowd."

"...we'll continue to do the same," he said, however adding: "if any external elements are found we'll take very strict legal action."

Row Sparks Protests in Davangere, Udupi, Bagalkote

Meanwhile, as tensions escalated in education institutions of the state, several donning saffron scarves resumed their protests against the Hijab.

In Davangere, students and protestors were lathicharged, and sprayed with tear gas as the law and order situation in the are deteriorated. Section 144 was also consequently imposed in the region.

Other districts in the state, such as Udupi, Hassan, Mandaya, Chitradurga, and Hubbali also reportedly saw protests and confrontations between those sporting saffron scarfs and other students over the dress code.

In Bagalkote, protestors were lathi-charged upon as protests turned violent, and 18 students were detained in Raichur amidst the demonstartions.

Visuals of hooliganism emerged online later on Tuesday too, as a mob of 'protestors' chanted 'Jai Shri Ram' outside a classroom, banged on the door and proceeded to barge in to the room.

The visual captures the mob forcefully entering the room in the presence of a teacher, while a class is underway.

The tensions have been on the rise since December, when the Government Girls PU college in Udupi barred six muslim girls from entering the class in their hijabs.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday, ordered the closure of all high schools and colleges for the next three days in the state, amid the ongoing tensions.

(With inputs from ANI.)

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