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Goa Woman Barred from Taking NET After She Refuses to Take Off Hijab

The 24-year-old has written to the NET, the National Testing Agency (NTA), University Grants Commission (UGC), education department in Goa.

Updated:December 20, 2018, 7:37 PM IST
New Delhi: A 24-year-old was barred from sitting for her National Eligibility Test (NET) after she refused to take off her hijab.

Aspirant Safina Khan was asked to take off her hijab as she stood in the queue to enter her examination hall on Tuesday in Goa.

Speaking to News18, Safina said she was asked by the inspecting officials at the Centre to take off her hijab for a photograph. “When I told them I couldn’t do that, they insisted I had to show my ears for a photograph. After much debating, I said I would re-adjust my hijab so that my ears were visible and requested them to direct me to a washroom to do the same,” she further said.

The officials, however, refused to allow her to go to a washroom and asked her to re-adjust her hijab right there. “I was shocked. It didn’t end there, they further told me that I will have to sit for the exam without my hijab or I would not be allowed. I debated and argued as much as I could, but in vain. My refusal to remove my hijab cost me my exam,” she added. Her exam centre was at the Patto EDC complex in Panaji.

The 24-year-old has written to the NET, the National Testing Agency (NTA), University Grants Commission (UGC), education department in Goa. “I will also soon be posting a letter to the Ministry of Human Resource Development too,” she added. Her next attempt, if the authorities take note of her complaint on time, would be on the 23rd of this month. “But that seems unlikely. I’ve lost the chance because of my refusal to part ways with something that is so important to my religion,” she said.

According to Safina, this is not the first time that she has faced such a situation with respect to her hijab. Last month, at the passport seva kendra office in Panjim, she said she was told that nuns were allowed to keep their head gear but she would not be allowed for the proceedings.

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