An FIR has been filed against the principal of a private college in Moradabad for reportedly refusing to give a Muslim student his admit card for the Class 12 board exams because he had not shaved his beard.
The case has been lodged against Wilsonia College principal, A S Santram, under IPC Section 298 (uttering words etc with deliberate intent to hurt religious feelings) at the Civil Lines police station. While Moradabad District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar has ordered a magisterial inquiry, SSP Ashutosh Kumar said the matter is being investigated.
According to the complaint, the student, Abdul Basit Ali Khan, went to the college on Monday to collect his admit card for the exams which began on Tuesday. But the principal allegedly told him to first shave his beard, and warned him if he did not comply, he would not get his admit card. The student then called up his father, Wajahat Khan, who asked his brother, Nadeem Ali Khan, to look into the matter.
“My brother asked me to go and find out what was the problem. I went and met the principal. She was adamant that she would not give the admit card unless Abdul shaved his beard. I pointed out that the exam was beginning on Tuesday, and there is no law that says a bearded student beard cannot appear for the exam. She said the college prospectus mentions that a student should shave,” said Nadeem Ali Khan.
“I called up some officials and told them that my nephew was being harassed for keeping a beard. Following intervention from several persons, including a district administration official, the principal finally gave the admit card,” he claimed, adding that Abdul appeared for his first exam on Tuesday.
When contacted, Santram said she did not mean to hurt the feelings of any community. “I asked the boy to shave because he did not have a beard in the photograph on his admit card. It could create problems for him,” she said, claiming that several persons reached her office and created a ruckus.
Stating that the college is around 48 years old and 60 per cent of students and 40 per cent of teachers are Muslims, Santram said according to the school norms, all boys are required to shave.
Meanwhile, a delegation of clerics met Additional District Magistrate Praveen Mishra on Wednesday and submitted a memorandum demanding action against the principal.
Santram and some principals of other schools are also reported to have met the DM and filed a complaint.