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Hijab row sparks fears of Muslim marginalization in India

Dispute over religious symbols enters courts, raises sectarian tensions

Muslim female students in several Indian states say their identities are being challenged by colleges and schools that ban the entry of those wearing the hijab.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- For over two months, tension has gripped India's southern state of Karnataka, after schools and colleges barred entry for Muslim girls and women who wear the hijab, or Islamic headscarf, a move that has created ripples across the country and comes as regional elections are happening in five states.

"A ban on the hijab is not acceptable. The hijab is part of our identity. It is in our faith and emotions," said A. H. Almaas, a student at the Government Pre University College For Girls, Udupi, in Karnataka. She was among the girls prevented from take her exams on Monday because she was denied entry to the campus.

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