In December 2021, a government school in Karnataka Udupi district barred six students from entering the classroom because they were wearing hijabs.
As the controversy spiralled, students from a college in Mangaluru district made similar claims–leading to widespread phenomenon where gradually more and more students in Karnataka spoke up as schools began to impose curbs–stating that the Hijab ban was a restriction of an individual’s fundamental right to education and religious expression.
The events in Udupi sparked further counter protests led by Hindutva groups–eventually culminating in clashes as a section of students and others engaged in a hostile stand off with those protesting the hijab ban.
The protests spread to other districts closer to Udupi and even outside Karnataka, with instances of violence and stone-pelting reported in a number of cases.
Consequently, the government imposed prohibitory orders in affected areas in Karnataka, including Udupi, Bengaluru, Shivamogga, and Dakshina Kannada and schools and colleges were ordered to close as well.
Consequently, the Karnataka High Court had temporarily banned religious clothes, including Hijab and Saffron scarves, in February as the controversy escalated into violent face offs.
On the 15th of March, Karnataka High Court replied to five petitions challenging the ban stating that ‘A hijab is not an essential religious practice’-a decision which was refuted by several scholars and politicians.