India World

Karnataka: Ban on hijab sparks religious tension among hundreds of teenagers in India

Hundreds of teens have been protesting in India’s Karnataka state for weeks, drawing attention to a college’s ban on hijabs.

The row has spread and inflamed religious tensions within the state, with clashes reportedly breaking out.

Schools have been closed for three days as a result.

The dispute has also made national headlines in India, and has now reached the state’s high court.

A petition with the court filed by one of the students argues that wearing the hijab was a fundamental right to religion guaranteed by the constitution.

The teenage girls began their protest after they were banned by management from wearing the hijab in class at their government-run pre-university college, equivalent to a high school.

The issue has since snowballed to other colleges in Karnataka state.

But it has also seen Hindu hardliners protest in support of the ban.

On Tuesday, clashes between the two sides were believed to have left a number of people injured, according to local media.

The state’s chief minister, Basavaraj Bommai, closed schools for three days, appealing for “all the students, teachers and management of schools and colleges as well as people of Karnataka to maintain peace and harmony”.