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Controversy Erupts After Mumbai College Bans Hijab in the Premises

The college authority is facing a severe backlash over the issue Controversial Policy 

Mohammad Alamullah

MUMBAI — A recent decision by NG Acharya & DK Maratha College in Mumbai’s Chembur area to prohibit Muslim female students from entering the campus while wearing hijabs and burkas has sparked a wave of protests and legal challenges.

The college authority is facing a severe backlash over the issue.

This marks the second time that the college administration, while targeting traditional Islamic attire, enforced a ban on students’ religious attire.

During August last year, a similar ban was imposed, ostensibly on junior college students prohibiting them from wearing Hijab and other religious attires in the College premises. 

When the issue was flagged, the administration justified the move saying that the dress code applied only to junior college students. However, the latest enforcement includes degree students, despite the absence of any legal dress code for higher education institutions in Maharashtra.

Local activist Maimoona Sheikh expressed a strong opposition to the ban. “The college principal has issued a decree banning female students from wearing hijabs and burqas from entering the college. We have sent a legal notice to the college administration,” sheikh told Clarion India.

The ban has stirred resentment among students and parents as well. “By raising such issues, it is just an attempt to gain political advantage,” said a student who wished to remain anonymous. “In a democratic setup, anyone’s dress code should not be a problem,” the student sobbed.

We tried to reach the college authorities for the comment but they were not available for the quote.

The silence from the college administration has done little to quell the growing discontent. The community continues to demand clarity and the reversal of the ban, arguing that besides violating their religious freedom rights, it infringes the right to education without discrimination too.

The controversy highlights previous incidents across India, where educational institutions attempted to regulate religious attire of Muslim Students raising questions on their Hijab. 

A similar move gained significant attention two years ago in Karnataka, where Muslim students at a junior college in Udupi were barred from wearing hijabs, citing a violation of the college’s uniform policy. More recently, in June, a college in Hyderabad refused admission to students wearing burqas and warned them that the students would be barred from exams if they fail to comply. Similarly, SND University in Mumbai faced backlash after including a prohibition on hijabs in its prospectus, which was later retracted following public outcry.

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