Baramulla School For Physically Challenged Asks Staff To Avoid Hijab

SRINAGAR: A school that the army is running in collaboration with an NGO, in Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Monday asked its staff to stop wearing the hijab during school hours so that “students can feel comfortable and are forthcoming to interact with teachers”, News18 reported.

The circular was issued by the administration of the Dagger Parivaar School.

In a circular issued on Monday, the school’s principal said that the institution was a place to learn and grow emotionally.

“As the staff of school, the main purpose is to provide the fullest possible development of each learner,” the circular added. “For the same, the trust must be established with the students to make them feel welcome, safe and happy. The staff is hereby instructed to avoid hijab…”

After social media users criticised the move, an unidentified official of the school told News18 that officials would recall the circular and issue a new one.

“A teacher has done a mistake and created a controversy,” the official said. “The school has children of all faiths and we don’t discriminate.” Another newspaper quoted another official saying: “Let me tell you the circular was not on Hijab but for Niqab (veil). You need to understand that the students in the school are specially-abled children, who need significant physical interaction.”

The School is teaching physically challenged children and is run by the Army in collaboration with a Pune based NGO, Indrani Balan Foundation.

Reacting to the order, Former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti stated that Jammu and Kashmir is “not like any other state” where they (BJP) bulldoze the houses of minorities.

Uploading the order on social media, Mufti wrote: “I condemn this letter issuing diktats on hijab. J&K may be ruled by BJP but its certainly not like any other state where they bulldoze the houses of minorities & not allow them the freedom to dress as they want. Our girls will not give up their right to choose.”

The development came just over a month after the Karnataka High Court on March 15 upheld the ban on the hijab in educational institutes in the state. The court had held that the hijab was not an essential part of Islam and thus could not be protected under the fundamental right to religion.

The order has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

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