Hijabs in India: BJP Councillor Bans Religious Attire in South Delhi Schools

© REUTERS / Vahid SalemiMannequin heads dressed with head scarves at a shop in a commercial district in downtown Tehran, Iran, Saturday, July 17, 2021.
Mannequin heads dressed with head scarves at a shop in a commercial district in downtown Tehran, Iran, Saturday, July 17, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
A debate is raging in India whether female pupils should be allowed to wear the hijabs in school. It all kicked off in Karnataka state after several girls wearing the hijab were barred from entering a classroom in their pre-university college classroom. The row has now spread to other parts of the country.
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillor of South Delhi's civic authority has told those in charge of educational establishments to make sure that no child comes to school in "religious attire".
The matter was raised by Nitika Sharma, chairwoman of the Education Committee of South Delhi Municipal Corporation, and a BJP councillor.
In a letter she said that schoolchildren "look very beautiful in prescribed school uniform".
"Recently, it has been found that some parents send their children to school in religious attire, which is not right at all. This move will create a mentality of inequality among the children, which is not good for their future," Sharma stated in her letter.
The letter came a day after a sixth-grade Muslim student was told to remove her hijab to enter her class at a Delhi government school in the region of Tukhmirpur in Mustafabad.
The girl's father demanded clarification and, according to him, the school said that asking students to remove their hijab was in line with the Delhi government supposed policy.
However, the girl's father further alleged that the principal later back-tracked on her statement when he asked about any new guidelines.
"The principal later said that although there is no formal order, they cannot allow some pupils to look different from other girls in the school," the father added.
However, after the Mustafabad incident, Delhi's deputy state chief and Education Minister, Manish Sisodia, said on Thursday that there are "no restrictions" imposed on pupils, their "traditions are respected", and that "attempts are being made to politicise the issue".
In Delhi, government schools are divided into two categories — those run by the Delhi government and others by three city municipal corporations (civic bodies).
There are 568 schools under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) in which around 250,000 pupils are taught.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court is hearing a petition filed by Muslim pupils on whether the hijab should be permitted in schools, pre-university (equal to high schools) establishments and university colleges and on 10 February in its interim order the court restrained students from wearing "religious clothes", including the hijab, until its further direction.
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