UP missionary school principal bars Muslim girl from wearing headscarf

Barabanki— A day after three Muslim clerics were beaten up in a moving train in Baghpat for wearing scarves, principal of a missionary school here Friday asked a Muslim student to remove her headscarf or take admission in an Islamic institution.


The incident was reported from Anand Bhavan School in Nagar Kotwali area, prompting the local authorities to order a probe into the matter.


“We got a complaint and we have asked the block education officer to conduct a probe. The school has been served with a notice, but it has not replied to it so far,” Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) P N Singh said.


“We have also asked the officer to visit the school and make an on-the-spot inquiry,” he said.


The student’s father Mohammad R Rizvi alleged that he had approached the school principal, Archana Thomas, with a written request to allow his daughter to wear the religious headscarf.


But the principal asked him to get his daughter admitted to an Islamic school if he could not abide by rules laid down by the school.


“It is to clarify to you that this is a minority school, but there are many communities in minority category, and one community cannot impose its rules on other communities,” Thomas reportedly told Rizvi, adding, “The school will not be able to provide an exemption to its rules”.


The principal also asked the student’s father not to “disrupt” the school’s functioning by asking unnecessary questions.


“If you face any inconvenience, you can admit your ward to an Islamic school,” she told him.


The principal of the missionary school further noted that wearing a headscarf did not conform to the ‘dress code’ of the school, while reprimanding Rizvi for questioning the school management’s decision on this issue.


Rizvi later met the district magistrate regarding the school’s order.


He said his daughter had been studying in the school since kindergarten and as per Islamic tradition, the child had to cover her hair after reaching the age of nine.


“My daughter was asked not to wear a headscarf to school, another girl was made to remove it. I argued that our Sikh brothers are allowed to wear turbans, even though the same is not part of the dress code,” he said.


The principal, however, clarified that she did not ask the student to leave the school.


“If they have a problem with the rules, they can admit their child to another school, not necessarily an Islamic one,” Thomas said.


On the question of differentiating among communities by allowing Sikhs to keep the turbans and barring Muslims from practicing their beliefs, the principal said, “Sikhs do not study here”.


The incident came to light a day after three Muslim clerics were beaten up by allegedly by unidentified persons in a moving train in Baghpat.


The ‘maulvis’, who had boarded a passenger train at Delhi last night, were on their way to their village in Baghpat, when they had a tiff with some youths who allegedly beat them up. The accused reportedly wanted to know why did the clerics cover their heads with handkerchiefs.


The clerics received injuries on their heads, hands and legs.


The Baghpat police registered a case in this regard and are on the lookout for the culprits.

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