Agence France-Presse, February 8, 2022
Authorities in southern India ordered schools to shut on Tuesday as protests intensified over a ban on Islamic headscarves that has outraged Muslim students.
The stand-off in Karnataka state has galvanised fears among the minority community about what they say is increasing persecution under the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Fresh demonstrations on Tuesday saw officers fire tear gas to disperse a crowd at one government-run campus, while a heavy police presence was seen at schools in nearby towns.
Students at a government-run high school were told not to wear hijabs last month, an edict that soon spread to other educational institutions in the state.
Campuses have seen escalating confrontations between Muslim students condemning the ban and Hindu pupils that say their classmates have disrupted their education.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party governs Karnataka state and several prominent members have thrown their support behind the ban.