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Barabanki: School principal bars student from wearing headscarf, govt orders probe

Rizvi claimed he had sought time to meet Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is scheduled to visit Barabanki on Saturday.

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow |
Updated: November 25, 2017 5:36:13 am
barabanki, headscarves, girl not allowed to wear headscarf, uttar pradesh, yogi adityanath, indian express The principal gave her decision in writing to the student’s father, who is a Shia cleric. (Representational)

The Barabanki District Basic Education Department has ordered an inquiry after a missionary school principal allegedly did not allow a Muslim student to wear a headscarf, and asked her father to take her to an Islamic institution if he was not ready to abide by the school dress code. The principal gave her decision in writing to the student’s father, who is a Shia cleric.

Maulana Mohammad Raza Rizvi, the father of student Lubaba Rizvi, lodged a complaint with Barabanki Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) P N Singh. Attaching the principal’s letter, he objected to her comment on his daughter’s admission to an Islamic institution. On Friday, the BSA handed over the inquiry to Block Education Officer (City) Uma Srivastava and sought a report soon.

When contacted, Rizvi told The Indian Express that his daughter has been studying in Anand Bhawan school since kindergarten. “As per Islamic tradition, girls have to cover their head after reaching the age of 10. I met the principal, Sister Archana Thomas, in April and requested her to allow my daughter to wear a headscarf in class. She denied permission on the ground that it flouts the dress code. When I insisted, she agreed to put my demand before the school’s governing body and administrative committee at a meeting in October,” said Rizvi, who claims to be ‘Shahar Imam Juma’ of Shia community in Barabanki.

“In October, the principal told me that the committee and governing body had declined the request. On October 25, I sent an application requesting the principal to allow my daughter to wear the scarf. I also questioned the school rules — if Sikhs are allowed to wear turban, why can’t Muslims wear headscarf in the school? Turban is not a part of dress code,” claimed Rizvi, whose five-year-old son also studies in the same school. “In a reply I received two days ago, the principal stated that if I am not happy with the school, I could get my daughter admitted in an Islamic institute.”

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Rizvi claimed he had sought time to meet Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is scheduled to visit Barabanki on Saturday. According to the principal, the school — founded in 1948 at Dewa Road in Barabanki — has 60 per cent students from the Muslim community.

“There is a dress code in school and Muslim girls and Muslim staff, including teachers, remove the headscarf after entering the campus. The letter to Rizvi was a reply to his letter in which permission was denied to his daughter wearing headscarf in class,” Sister Thomas said.

She admitted having stated in the letter to Rizvi that if he was not happy he could get his daughter admitted in an Islamic institute. “The allegation that Lubaba’s headscarf was forcibly removed inside the campus is false. I had placed Rizvi’s request before the committee, but they denied permission stating that rules could not be changed,” she added.

BSA Singh said, “I have ordered an inquiry by Block Education Officer Uma Srivastava on a complaint filed by the girl’s father. Action will be decided on the basis of the findings.”

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