Uttar Pradesh is yet again making headlines – this time for alleged religious profiling after a school in Barabanki prohibited two students from wearing hijab on campus. The school authorities also allegedly threatened to rusticate the two if they didn’t comply. The two girls, who are cousins, attend Anand Bhawan School, a Catholic educational institution.
“My daughter and my niece study in Class VII of Anand Bhawan School, a co-education missionary school affiliated to ICSE board. Wearing hijaab is their right and choice and the school management stopping them from doing so is against fundamental rights,” says Maulana Mohammad Raza, the Imam-e-Juma of a Barabanki Shia mosque.
The principal of the school, Archana Thomas allegedly took away the headscarf of one of the girls and scolded the other. She then sent a notice to the parents as well, asking them to either adhere to the school’s dress code or ‘get their wards admitted in some Islamic school’.
Says the principal when questioned on the matter: “All I want to say is that if you have any problem with the rules of this school, then kindly take your ward somewhere else. All rules and regulations of the school are clearly mentioned in the prospectus.”
Maulana Raza disagrees, pointing out that this imposition is not followed in the case of turbans for Sikhs: “As per our faith, women cover their head. I requested the principal to give permission. She said she would hold a meeting in October, but she denied the permission, saying that it was against the dress code.”