Thiruvananthapuram: The Muslim Educational Society (MES) in Kerala has banned all face-covering attires, a circular issued on April 17 said.
The Kozhikode-headquartered MES that runs over 150 educational institutions in the state banned all face covering attires from their campus from the upcoming academic year 2019-2020.
MES President Fazal Gafoor, a medical professional, issued the circular last month and directed that this should be strictly adhered to by both students and teachers in all their educational institutions.
"Let's follow the Islam in Kerala and not the Islam of the Middle East," Gafoor told News18 Kerala. "For the last five years orthodox Muslim groups have been imposing their dress code in Kerala institutions...we have decided to curb this menace. We have a dress code — salwaar kameez for females."
"There is no need for any controversy as the circular states that the dress code should be decent and the face should not be covered. This is our view and it will be implemented," he added.
Set up in 1964, MES runs more than 150 institutions including more than 50 schools, a number of postgraduate colleges, women's colleges, professional institutions like engineering colleges, medical college, nursing college and dental college.
However, Sayyid Muhammad Jifri Muthukkoya Thangal, president of the popular Muslim organisation Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama, said these are all religious issues.
"MES cannot decide on religious issues and it's not right in what they have done," said Thangal.
The circular has led to protests among other Muslim organisations, who say it goes against the religious tenets and sentiments of the community and the educational society should consult various organisations before taking such a decision.
On Wednesday, the Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece 'Saamana' asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to follow Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena's footsteps and ban burqas and other face-covering garments in India considering the threat it poses to the nations' security.
Responding to the editorial, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi hit out at Shiv Sena saying that the fight against terrorism does not entail the dress, but the mindset.
(With inputs from IANS)