A TEACHER in a suburban school has resigned allegedly because she was asked to remove her hijab (headscarf) and burqa on the campus by the headmistress. Khan Shabina Nazneen (25) resigned from the Vivek English High School in Kasaiwada, Kurla, on Wednesday, claiming that the work environment was hostile. The school has termed the incident a ‘misunderstanding.’
Nazneen, who had been working as an ICT teacher in the secondary section for the past two years and nine months, said she was being targeted by a new headmistress who had joined the school in June. “Since the new headmistress joined, she has asked me to remove my hijab and burqa on several occasions, saying it was against the decorum of the school. When I pointed out that I had the right to wear my traditional attire, I was told I had to abide by the rule,” said Nazneen.
“I was told that other Muslim teachers did not wear the hijab and I must follow suit,” she added. Nazneen said she resigned after an incident on December 5, when she was asked to remove her burqa before singing the national anthem. “It was my turn to do the morning assembly, where we sing the prayers and the national anthem. I was forced to remove my burqa as the headmistress said I could not sing the national anthem with the burqa on,” said Nazneen. The principal of the school, however, said that there was no such discrimination.
“The new headmistress has brought in some new rules. A misunderstanding seems to have culminated as a result,” said Vikram Pillai, the principal, adding that the resignation had been forwarded to the management of the school. “The management will hear the grievance of the teacher on Monday,” said Pillai. He said the school admits a large number of Muslim students who wear hijabs and the school had never stopped them from it.
Meanwhile, Nazneen has approached a non-government organisation, Jai Ho Foundation, which has written to education minister Vinod Tawde. Adil Khatri, trustee of Jai Ho Foundation, said, “This is in violation of her right under Article 25 of the Constitution. We have told the minister that this is creating an environment that is not good for the society.”