Hubballi (K’taka): A day ahead of high schools across the state up to class 10 that were shut in the wake of the Hijab row, reopening, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday expressed confidence that peace and normalcy will prevail.

He also said that a decision regarding reopening of Pre-University and Degree colleges will be taken after assessing the situation.

“High schools up to class 10 will reopen tomorrow, already Deputy Commissioner, Superintendent of police and Deputy Director of Public Instruction of all districts have been asked to hold peace meetings involving parents and teachers at important schools aimed at maintaining cordial atmosphere. I’m confident that schools will function peacefully,” Bommai said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said that he has asked the Education Minister to submit a report after examining the situation regarding reopening of Pre- University and Degree colleges, based on the assessment a meeting will be held and a decision will be taken.

The government on Friday had said that holiday announced to universities belonging to the department of Higher Education and colleges under the Department of Collegiate and Technical Education (DCTE), in the wake of the Hijab row, has been extended till February 16.

Regarding reports about involvement of certain organisations and foreign hands behind the hijab row, the Chief Minister in response to a question said, “such reports in the media and social media are being taken note by our investigating officials, who are also gathering information on their end.”

“What is before me, and my first duty is that schools and colleges should return to normal functioning, and students should study in a peaceful and cordial atmosphere and prepare for exams that is likely by March-April,” he said.

As protests for and against the hijab intensified in different parts of Karnataka and turned violent in some places, the government declared a holiday for all high schools and colleges in the state for three days from February 9.

Following the court order, the government on February 10 had decided to resume classes for high school students up to class 10 from February 14, and for Pre-University and Degree Colleges thereafter.

The Karnataka High Court, in its interim order pending consideration of all petitions related to the Hijab row, had earlier requested the state government to reopen educational institutions and restrained all the students from wearing saffron shawls, scarves, Hijab and any religious flag within the classroom.

In the wake of reopening of schools, the government had last week issued a series of directions to district administrations, aimed at maintaining peace and that the High Court order is not violated.

Bommai, who also holds the Finance portfolio and will be presenting his first budget early next month said, all-round development of the state is in his mind.

“After the economic slowdown due to COVID for the last two years, things are recovering in the last four to five months, there is improvement in the revenue collection. Budget will focus on economic development, public welfare and financial discipline. We will have to give a boost to an economy that has slowed down, also priority has to be given to weaker sections and working class,” he added.

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