The students who had participated in the protest against the hijab ban in schools and colleges in the Indian state of Karnataka will not be given a second chance to appear for their missed practical exams.

The students had missed some secondary school exams in the month of February and March when the protests against the ban were underway. Some of the students had boycotted the practical exams while some others were not allowed inside their schools for wearing a hijab.

"If we allow the students who boycotted the practicals for not being allowed to wear hijab to the exam even after the high court gave its interim order, then another student will come citing some other reason and seek a second chance," said Karnataka education minister BC Nagesh.

The exams are divided in two parts: theory for 70 marks, and practical for 30 marks. The theory exams are yet to be held while the students have already missed practical exams. The students can therefore avoid failing the entire academic year if they manage to pass the theory exams, wrote The Independent.

The controversy over the wearing of hijab to educational institutions erupted after a college in Udupi denied entry into classrooms to students who were wearing it.

These students then started holding demonstrations against the college authorities inside school premises and were met with opposition from right-wing groups and BJP leaders supporting the ban.

Several petitions were then filed in the Karnataka High Court against the ban. However, the court upheld the ban stating that the hijab is not an essential part of Islam, hence, the practice is not protected under the fundamental right to religion.

"...It can hardly be argued that hijab being a matter of attire, can be justifiably treated as fundamental to the Islamic faith. It is not that if the alleged practice of wearing hijab is not adhered to, those not wearing hijab become the sinners, Islam loses its glory & ceases to be a religion," read the order as quoted by news website Live Law.

The court further stated that "the practice of wearing hijab may have something to do with culture but certainly not with religion."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governs the Karnataka state and several prominent members have thrown their support behind the ban.

Muslim activists
Activists held a demonstration in New Delhi to protest after students at government-run high schools in India's Karnataka state were told not to wear hijabs Photo: AFP / Money SHARMA