After clashes between two student groups, SRK college – located in Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh – banned entry of female students wearing a burqa or Islamic hijab.
However, the college administration has clarified that no such ban has been imposed and that female students can wear grey burqas with white pajamas as prescribed in the college’s dress code, the Indian Express reported.
Series of incidents
On September 6, student groups allegedly started pelting stones at each other prompting the police to intervene and arrest three people who allegedly beat up a student.
Students say that they were allegedly threatened with a baton when they tried to approach the college gate.
As the clash took a violent turn, the administration, students say, banned the entry of women wearing burqas or the Islamic hijab.
According to Times Now News, the administration justified the ban saying that the students entered the college with anti-social elements and then proceed to disrupt the peace on campus.
The Muslim women staged a protest against the administration’s order demanding that the decision be revoked.
The college administration denied all the charges in an Indian Express report dated September 13. They said that they haven’t imposed any ban on burqas or the hijab and that restrictions are only for those who don’t carry their identity cards.
“We have stopped the entry of all students who are not carrying the identity cards with them too. Girl students have been asked to wear only grey burqas as prescribed by the college authorities,” Prabhakar Raj, principal of the college told the Indian Express
He also added that girl students have been provided with a changing room where they can remove the burqa if it is not grey in colour.
Denying the use of batons against the students, he said, “The photograph [of the baton] has nothing to do with the dress code restriction. There are many monkeys on the campus and we carry the baton in case any monkey attacks us.”
Firozabad superintendent of police, Sachindra Patel, also denied the intervention of the police in enforcing the dress code.
Burqa ban on campuses
This is not the first incident of a debate around burqa bans in campuses in India.
On September 12, a group of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students had complained to the local administration regarding right-wing leaders allegedly asking the college to ban burqas and skull caps.
Right-wing student leader Amit Goswami and others handed over a memorandum to the chief proctor of Dharm Samaj Degree College warning that if the college fails to take steps regarding this (ban on burqa) within the next 72 hours, they would launch a drive among students encouraging them to wear saffron outfits while attending college.
Kerala has been contemplating a burqa ban in colleges after the Sri Lankan government decided to ban face veils after the Easter Sunday serial bombings which claimed several lives.
According to Livemint, the Muslim Education Society issued a circular banning covering veils from the upcoming academic year.
In the same vein, in May this year, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut in its mouthpiece Saamana had urged the Narendra Modi government to ban burqas on grounds of protecting national security in the aftermath of the bomb blast in Sri Lanka.
The Muslim women from Mumbra in Maharashtra protested against the comments made by the Shiv Sena MP against the ban.
Later, surprisingly, Shiv Sena dissociated itself from its comments. Students, meanwhile, continue to fight for their demands.
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