Mumbai: Chembur College Enforces Dress Code After Hijab Ban Verdict, Evicts Students For Violations

Mumbai: Chembur College Enforces Dress Code After Hijab Ban Verdict, Evicts Students For Violations

Not just the Muslim women donning the customary burqa and naqab, but also the other students who wore jeans and T-shirts, clothing deemed violative of the college's 'formal and decent' dress rule, have been ousted from the classrooms and laboratories during the last few days.

Musab QaziUpdated: Tuesday, July 02, 2024, 12:31 AM IST
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Mumbai: Chembur College Enforces Dress Code After Hijab Ban Verdict, Evicts Students For Violations | Representative

Mumbai: Following the Bombay High Court (HC)'s verdict upholding the hijab ban at Acharya & Marathe College in Chembur, the college authorities and teachers have started strictly enforcing its dress code.

Not just the Muslim women donning the customary burqa and naqab, but also the other students who wore jeans and T-shirts, clothing deemed violative of the college's 'formal and decent' dress rule, have been ousted from the classrooms and laboratories during the last few days. While the students believe that the diktat is depriving them of education, the college insists that it's an effort to instill 'discipline' among learners.

As part of the dress code, introduced before the new academic session, the students have been directed to only wear 'formal' and 'decent' clothes. While the male students are required to wear full or half shirt and 'normal' trousers, female students have been asked to wear any 'non-revealing full formal dress', be it 'Indian' or 'Western'. The institute has also prohibited 'revealing' dresses and objects of clothing with religious significance, specifically mentioning hijab, niqab and burqa - the customary headscarf, face covering and full-body veil donned by Muslim women.

The directive faced stiff resistance from a sizeable section of the institution's students. Nine of the Muslims students had moved the Bombay High Court (HC), claiming that the restriction violated their fundamental rights. However, the court, last week, dismissed their petition.

However, despite the verdict, several burqa and hijab wearing women tried to join classes and practicals last week and on Monday, only to be shown the door by their teachers, including the principal. Even the other students, male and female, who failed to adhere to the dress code were asked to leave. The students tried to reason with the authorities and requested them to rethink their decision, but in vain.

"For the first few days after the decision, the teachers simply kept reminding us about the dress code. But on Saturday, the principal Vidyagauri Lele visited our class and scolded us. She threatened to cancel all the lectures, unless we leave the classroom or remove our coverings. Around 8-10 girls in burqas and a couple of students in jeans and T-shirts too had to exit," said a third-year Bachelor of Science (BSC) student.

One of the women in the same class said that she was thrown out even though she had only loosely kept a dupatta (shawl) over her head. "I couldn't sit without it. We don't know what to do," said the student.

While the college acknowledged barring students from the classroom, it didn't provide the exact number of ousted students. Pictures from Monday morning show a large number of such students crowding outside the college premises.

The final year students said that the dispute is taking a toll on their education. "We don't know what to focus on, academics or this issue," said a student. The petitioners are meanwhile contemplating knocking the doors of the Supreme Court (SC) against the HC's order. "We can't remove the burqa; It's a question of our modesty. Though it's not an easy task to move the SC, considering the cost involved, we have to fight on," said one of the petitioners.

On the other hand, principal Vidyagauri Lele, remained firm about imposing the dress code. "Any new rule is bound to meet with some resistance. But it's a question of a few days. As an institution, we have a right to make our rules, which was acknowledged by the HC. We are simply trying to bring discipline among students. No one should have a problem with that," she added.

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