Over the past month, several government-run educational institutions in India’s Karnataka state have banned Muslim female students from wearing the hijab, or headscarf. The state government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has backed the discriminatory ban, passing a directive last week saying, “clothes which disturb equality, integrity, and public law and order should not be worn.”
Amid increasing tensions and protests between Hindu and Muslim students around the hijab in schools, Karnataka authorities have shut down schools and colleges for three days. On February 8, as the Karnataka High Court heard petitions by Muslim students supporting the right to wear the hijab, viral videos emerged of a mob of Hindu youth heckling a female Muslim student for wearing one. A day later, according to a news report, admission forms of six female Muslim students at the forefront of the protests, including their phone numbers and home addresses, were leaked online.