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Join a Madrasa if You Want to Wear Headscarf, UP School Tells Student

When the girl still wore the scarf to school the next day, the principal allegedly removed the scarf forcefully and scolded her.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:November 24, 2017, 5:37 PM IST
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Lucknow: A missionary school in Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh has barred Muslim girl students from wearing a headscarf to class and told parents to get their children admitted to Islamic schools (Madrasas) if they want to continue the practice.

The principal of Anand Bhawan School, Archana Thomas, told a Class VII girl to remove the headscarf from the next day if she wants to study in the school. The school administration also sent a notice to parents of the student and asked them to “abide by the school’s dress code, or else, get their ward admitted in some Islamic School”.

When the girl still wore the scarf to school the next day, the principal allegedly removed the scarf forcefully and scolded her.

Speaking to News18, the girl said that her father had taken prior permission for the headscarf. “Principal Ma’am denied the permission. Next day, when I wore the scarf, she called me and snatched away my scarf. My cousin, too, was denied permission and was scolded for wearing the headscarf to school,” said the seventh grader.

The girl’s father, Mohammad Raza Rizvi, questioned the logic of the school’s rules and asked if Sikhs can wear a turban, they why can’t Muslims wear a headscarf to school.

“As per our faith, females need to cover their head. I requested the principal to give permission. She said she would hold a meeting in October, but eventually she denied the permission, saying that it flouted the dress code. I want to understand how come Sikhs are allowed to wear pagdi (turban), which is also not a part of the dress code?” Rizvi asked.

He said the language used by the principal in her reply to the application for permission was in a bad taste.

Rizvi also met the district magistrate but said he did not offer any help. “I met the DM over this issue, but he treated me badly. I have written to deputy CM, union minority affairs minister, HRD minister, minority commission, Basic Shiksha Adhikari and the Human Rights Commission but all my efforts have gone in vain so far,” he said.

When Principal Archana Thomas was asked about the diktat, she said, “All I want to say is that if you have any problem with the rules of this school then kindly take your ward somewhere else. All the rules and regulations of our school have been clearly mentioned in the prospectus.”

Rizvi’s father has sought a meeting with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who is scheduled to visit Barabanki on Saturday.

To this end, Rizvi met District Magistrate Barabanki Akhilesh Tiwari and handed over a memorandum.

“We have met DM and asked him to give permission to meet CM sir; we want to share our pain with him and also would like to request CM Yogi to do justice with my daughter in this case. Our CM sir supports Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign and hence I am sure he will help my daughters too as our demand is legitimate,” he said.

“We will also be giving written complaint to the local police and I am sure they will help us. I don’t know why the school is making it a prestige issue; our demand is very small and legitimate. My daughter is getting mentally traumatized by the behaviour of the school management. However if we still don’t get justice then we will be heading towards High Court,” Rizvi added.

The District Magistrate of Barabanki, Akhilesh Tiwari said to the parents that he will try his best to get time for them to meet CM Yogi, but then only two or three people can be allowed.

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