The bandh call given by Karnataka’s Ameer-e-Shariat Maulana Sagheer Ahmed Khan Rashadi and other Muslim organisations on Thursday to protest against the Karnataka High Court order disallowing wearing of the hijab (headscarf) in the classrooms evoked a moderate response across the state with business establishments run by Muslims downing their shutters voluntarily.

Trading areas run by Muslims in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Bhatkal town in Uttara Kannada district observed a shutdown. 

Business establishments run by Muslims downed shutters voluntarily

In Bengaluru, Commercial Street, an upscale shopping area dominated by the Muslim community, was closed. 

Across the state, the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi and Bhatkal town in Uttara Kannada district, trading areas run by Muslims were shut.

Bhatkal town had also imposed a bandh on Wednesday which it continued on Thursday. 

The call for a bandh on Wednesday was given by Bhatkal Tanzeem association which received a good response from Muslims and a section of non-Muslims too.

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Maulana Maqsood Imran Rashadi, Imam and Khateeb (one who delivers the sermon during Friday and Eid prayers) of Bengaluru’s biggest mosque Jamia Masjid in City Market, who was among those in favour of the bandh, said it was “voluntary and peaceful”.

According to him, the court verdict would become an obstacle for Muslim girls to continue their education.

“We are not insisting on the girls wearing a burqa or a hijab inside the classrooms. Uniforms have been prescribed and we will be happy if the state government allows the girls to use the uniform’s dupatta to cover their head. We have placed this request before the government and Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot,” Maulana Rashadi said.

Meanwhile, the issue figured in the Karnataka legislative Assembly with BJP MLA K Raghupathy Bhat, who represents Udupi constituency, demanding action against the girls protesting against the court order.

Law Minister J C Madhuswamy said the government would be taking a serious view of the bandh call given by Muslim organisations and ensure that the court order is implemented.

“No citizen can defy the court order. Appealing against the order is their civil right. Until a decision comes from the Supreme Court, the state government is bound to implement the High Court’s order,” Madhuswamy stated.

Regarding the issue of the girls boycotting the ongoing preparatory examinations in protest of the order, Madhuswamy said students will be allowed to take the re-exams only if they had missed it before the court’s interim order of February 11.

“We can consider that they missed the exams either out of innocence or ignorance,” the minister added.

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The minister was categorical that those who missed the exams after the interim order, which banned wearing of religious symbols inside the colleges, saying the hijab is more important, will not be allowed for any re-exam. They defied the court order, he said.

Udupi-based Muslim Ookuta (conglomeration of Muslim organisations) said the bandh call was left to the choice of individual and it evoked a good response.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 16, said that it will hear the petition on the Karnataka hijab ban after the Holi holiday. The petition was moved through advocates Sanjay Hegde and Devdutt Kamat.

The original petitioners in the Karnataka hijab ban case moved the Supreme Court, challenging the decision of the Karnataka High Court. 

A three-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday ruled that wearing hijabs does not fall under the essential practice of Islam which evoked criticism across the nation