On Saturday (March 12), several female Muslim students at the Shree Varshney College in Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh claimed that they were barred from attending classes for wearing hijab.
As per a report in The Times of India, a ‘hijabi’ student of BA 1st Year alleged that the college staff refused her entry into the college premises. “Now, I am returning home,” she told the news organisation.
One student of BSc Final Year claimed that the college authorities asked her to first remove her burqa, followed by the hijab. “I fail to understand why they have a problem with our hijab. I am not prepared to go anywhere without a hijab and the college is not allowing us to enter the campus anymore,” she remarked.
Another Muslim student, now in her 3rd year, further alleged that the administration had no issues with hijab during her 1st and 2nd year of college. Reportedly, the college administration has issued a notice on Saturday, urging students to adhere to the ‘prescribed uniforms’.
While speaking about the matter, college proctor Anil Varshney said that the dress code is explicitly mentioned in the college prospectus. “We only want students to follow rules and regulations of the college,” he added.
One senior college official anonymously told The Times of India that the college administration is only following directions and the dress code will be implemented with more seriousness from now onwards.
Shree Varshney College in Aligarh was established in 1947 and affiliated with BR Ambedkar University. reportedly, there are 7000 students studying in the college, out of which 60% of them are said to be women. There are about 250 Muslim students in the college.
Opindia spoke to Shree Varshney College administration
OpIndia reached out to Beena Upadhyay, the administrative officer of Shree Varshney College, to learn more about the case.
While speaking about the development, she informed, “Students are allowed entry into our college as per the dress code. But if a girl insists that she wants to cover her hair/head, then, she can wear only white-colour headscarves. Any other form of the headcover is not allowed.”
On being asked whether the dress code has been a long-held practice in the college, she emphasised, “Yes absolutely. I have been working at this college for 15 years now and the dress code has been around since then.”
“The entry of any student in hijab/burqa is not allowed in our college. If a student comes dressed in burqa and hijab from home, they are required to remove the attire after entering the college premises. While returning home, they can wear hijab or burqa again. But, they have to wear college uniform within its premises,” the college administrative officer further added.
Karnataka hijab controversy
Last month, some Muslim students from the PU College in Karnataka filed a petition in the High Court to allow them to attend classes wearing Hijab. They were denied entry into classes because the college management stated that the hijab is not part of the uniform and it cannot be allowed in classes. Since then, the ‘students’ have been protesting while wearing burqas.
The Muslim students had started wearing hijab and burqa to their school, college in defiance of the uniform rules since December 2021 after coming in touch with the Campus Front of India (CFI), the student wing of the Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) in October 2021. The students had admitted being in consultation with the CFI.
Subsequently, the lawyers representing the Muslim students had cited Sharia in the secular court to make a point on hijab, claiming that it is an essential religious practice that is mandatory for Muslim women and not really a ‘choice’.