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No hijab yet, Indian court tells Muslim students

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The students’ parents encouraged their daughters to hold on, according to their lawyer, Mohammed Tahir. They continued to wear the hijab after the school, Government Women’s PU, decided in January to ban it on campus, saying it violated the school’s dress code. The school issued the ban after meeting a local lawmaker from Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP

“Then the problem started to explode,” Mr Tahir said. “Whenever students would go in hijab, they would also not be allowed inside the compound, let alone in the classroom.”

In recent weeks, students have been greeted at the gates of campus by dozens of boys and men wearing saffron – the color most associated with Hinduism, often worn by supporters of Hindu nationalism – and shouting slogans such as “Hail Lord Ram”, referring to the Hindu god.

The unrest has also spread to at least a dozen other state campuses. On Tuesday, authorities ordered schools closed for three days as police scrambled to respond to escalating protests.

On one campus, a boy climbed a flagpole, hoisting a saffron flag as others wearing saffron sashes cheered below, according to video from local TV news. In an engineering school, a video showed, a girl arriving in a hijab and robe was greeted by a large group of boys shouting Hindu slogans. She held out her fist to them.

While the once fringe view that India should become a more explicit Hindu state has found a general defender in Mr Modi, Amnesty International and other human rights watchdogs have warned that animosity religion could spin out of control, perhaps even emboldening Hindu extremists to commit genocide. against Indian Muslims, who make up about 15% of the country, and 13% in Karnataka.

Secularism is a cornerstone of India’s constitution, but the line between state and religion has blurred in recent years, with a saffron-clad Hindu monk heading government in Uttar Pradesh state , and the prime minister seen on TV performing Hindu rituals and prayers, observers said.