Jamia Millia Islamia student Umaiyah Khan (23) has written to the University Grants Commission (UGC) chairperson, alleging she was not allowed to appear for the UGC-NET (National Eligibility Test) Exam on Thursday because she was wearing a hijab.
Responding to this, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar Friday told reporters, “The Supreme Court has laid down norms for what you can carry and what you cannot carry. So we’re following SC guidelines.”
Khan, a student of MBA in International Business and is appearing for the management exam, wrote, “When I reached the centre, a male staff member asked me to remove my head scarf. I was shocked as there were no such guidelines mentioned in the admit card…I told him I can’t remove it as I follow my religion…When I approached the female staff members, they didn’t let me in either and asked me to remove my hijab…”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Khan said, “People should do their duty, but not by telling people to give up their religious symbols whether it’s a Muslim, Sikh or Hindu.”
Requesting the chairperson to “approve her as a NET-JRF qualified candidate”, Khan said, “For future, I request you to make sure this doesn’t happen with anyone no matter what their religion gender or identity is.”
Vineet Joshi, Director of the National Testing Agency (NTA) which conducted the UGC-NET exam, said, “This should not have happened. We have told everyone that they have to be very sensitive of religious sentiments and that frisking has to be done in a private enclosure…”