Even as the country debates whether or not AR Rahman's daughter Khatija should choose to wear a niquaab, another controversy regarding an Indian woman's choice of apparel has started raging in Australia.
A Hindu girl studying in Perth's Aranmore Catholic College has been barred from coming to school until she removes her nose-piercing. 15-year-old Sanya Singhal is a Class 10 student and has been studying in Aranmore since Class 3, local news website West Australian reports.
According to Singhal's mother, the nose-piercing has religious symbolism. For many in India, especially Hindus, a nose-pin traditionally marks a girl's transition into womanhood. Sometimes, it can also symbolise matrimony.
Singhal is supposed to wear the nose pin for at least a year due to "religious reasons", the girl's mother insisted.
However, when Singhal tried to rejoin school this year, she was told to take the nose-pin off or go home. Despite producing a letter from her mother explaining the significance of the piercing, she was told to remove the item.
Singhal's mother has raised her concerns with the school's principal and even offered to cover her daughter's nose pin with a band-aid but to no avail. The school responded by asking her to look for another school for her daughter should they choose to not take the accessory off.
The 15-year-old and her mother have decided to stand their ground, accusing the school of religious discrimination. According to Singhal's mother, the school allowed Muslim girls to wear the headscarves and Christian women to wear a crucifix but only had an issue with her daughter's nose pin which is part of her and her family's religious identity.
The incident has picked up steam on social media with many on Indian Twitter demanding the school to act appropriately in the matter by dropping the case against Singhal.
People have even started tagging the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for intervention.
@UnSubtleDesi isn't it strange that for a #Hindu everything is getting difficult in this country ?#SecularismKiDefination Aranmore Catholic College drama: Hindu student kicked out of school for a nose piercing https://t.co/iz2RtP4I3k — Meet (@meetgoyal14) February 8, 2019
Wierd... I don't understand why catholic schools don't allow Hindu traditions... I remember my school barring girls from wearing anklets and ear piercing..! https://t.co/l9WmZjDntt — Krishna Kanth 🇮🇳 (@IamKK101) February 8, 2019
.@SushmaSwaraj ji plz stand with this Hindu sister and save our tradition. Aranmore Catholic College drama: Hindu student kicked out of school for a nose piercing | The West Australian https://t.co/WPXt2d8u5J — Suresh Chavhanke STV (@SureshChavhanke) February 8, 2019
Wow...& Educational institution started religion drama They have exceptions for muslim girls but they have problem with Hindu girl piercing nose... Rule should be equal for everyone. They respect muslim culture but how conviniently dissing Hindus..👏👏👏👏https://t.co/KpaXXn6Njv — SonamMahajan (@SonamPillai) February 8, 2019