Srinagar- An Army-run school in Baramulla district on Wednesday amended its earlier order asking its staff to avoid wearing hijab during school hours after facing massive outrage and criticism in Kashmir Valley.
In a circular dated April 25, the principal of the Dagger Parivar School Baramulla, a school set up under the aegis of the Army and the Indrani Balan Foundation, asked the teachers to avoid wearing hijab during school hours "so that students can feel comfortable and are forthcoming to interact with teachers and staff".
However, on Wednesday, the school issued an amended version of the circular, replacing the word hijab (head cover) with niqab' (face veil).
The April 25-dated circular has been widely shared on social media.
Efforts to seek comments from the school management, including the principal, did not materialise.
Former J&K chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti strongly condemned diktat.
"I condemn this letter issuing diktats on hijab. J&K may be ruled by BJP but it's certainly not like any other state where they bulldoze the houses of minorities & not allow them the freedom to dress as they want. Our girls will not give up their right to choose," Mehbooba tweeted.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said it was an attempt to gain political mileage.
"In this country, everyone has the freedom to follow his or her religion. It is enshrined in our constitution that we are a secular country which means all religions are equal. I don't think any government should interfere in this.
This is playing with such a danger that can piss problems for the country. We would like that such decisions should not be taken. The people of all faiths should be free to follow their own religion," the former CM said.
"We hope that the effort to bring Karnataka into Jammu and Kashmir is stopped forthwith," he added.
Abdullah said it was wrong on part of the school to issue such a diktat.
"The reason given is just not right. This school did not start yesterday. These teachers (who are wearing hijab) must have been interacting with the students earlier also. What changed overnight? he asked.
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