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A series of religious laws promoted by India’s ruling Hindu nationalist party in the southern state of Karnataka, including a ban on the wearing of hijabs, is raising concerns the divisive measures will stoke sectarian tensions more prevalent in the country’s north.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recently banned wearing the hijab in classrooms in Karnataka, the only one of India’s five southern states it rules. A proposal to make religious conversions largely illegal is being considered by the local legislature.

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