In India, a high court has ruled that the hijab is not “essential” to Islam, which means that schools can stop students from wearing headscarves in schools and campuses.
The long-awaited decision comes after a debate in the southern state of Karnataka over the headscarf.
Protests erupted in January after a public institution decided to prevent Muslim females wearing the hijab from entering.
The problem became out of control, and the state was forced to close high schools and colleges for many days.
The state administration barred mass rallies and closed educational institutions in some districts on Monday, ahead of the ruling.
As a “reasonable restriction on fundamental rights,” the court found the state government has the power to “prescribe” uniforms for students.
After filing petitions claiming that India’s Constitution allowed them the freedom to wear headscarves, the case ended up in court.
On February 9, the judge who first heard the matter referred it to a larger bench, led by Karnataka Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, citing the “enormity” of the issues at hand.
During the hearing, the bench issued a contentious temporary ruling prohibiting students from wearing religious clothing, including the hijab, until the dispute was resolved.
This caused a number of Muslim women to miss school and even their exams while the case was being heard.
The controversy polarized sentiments, with some perceiving it as just another attempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist regime to marginalize Muslims.
Image Credit: Getty