Kerala Christian School Apologizes and Allows Hijabi Girls to Override Uniform Rule
Monday, February 22, the director of a Christian convent presented a excuses for banning a Muslim student from attending classes in her hijab. The incident happened at Little Flower UP School at Mananthavady in Wayanad district of Kerala.
It should be mentioned that the headmistress, Sr Roshna, had earlier reprimanded the Muslim student for overstepping the uniform rule. She had asked her parents to take a transfer certificate (TC) in case the child wanted to wear religious attire instead of the school uniform. Following a police complaint from the girl’s parents, coupled with the intimidation tactics of political groups, the convent school administration succumbed to the claims.
A copy of the school principal‘s apology letter had gone viral on social media. “On 2/17/22 at Mananthavadi Little Flower UP School, my conversation with a child’s guardian had some gaps and it was leaked to the media thus aggravating the matter. But it was not made with the intention of hurting anyone or hurting religious feelings,” she said.
Sr. Roshna emphasized that students will have the right and freedom to wear school uniform as they did in the past. She added that school authorities no longer have any objection to the wearing of hijab in schools. A meeting was called by Wayanad sub-collector R Sreelakshmi about it and political party officials, cops, education department officials and members of student organizations attended.
According to a report in Janam TV, the The Principal of Little Flower UP School initially argued that young children should grow up unrestricted and none should be allowed to bring their religious belongings to school. She was willing to hand out a TC to parents who prioritized hijab in schools over education and uniform school dress code.
The young Muslim, a class V pupil, had previously respected the school rules but came to take lessons in hijab and covered hands on February 16, amid the ongoing controversy in Karnataka. She was denied permission, after which her parents came to school and argued with Sr. Roshna. They had even filed an FIR against the school. The demand for religious exemption at the convent school gained momentum after members of the ruling Student Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of the Communist Party, took to the streets.
The SFl Wayanad district committee protested demanding an apology from the headmistress of Mananthavady Little Flower School for banning the headscarf on the school campus.
After protest, the school authorities apologized and assured not to have repeated their mistake. pic.twitter.com/mbZS7VrIlg
— SFI KERALA (@Sfikerala_) February 22, 2022
Last month, the Kerala government made it clear that student police (SPC) cadets cannot wear hijabs, scarves or long sleeves over their uniforms. The SPC project is an initiative of the Kerala Police in collaboration with the government to educate children about laws, discipline and good citizenship.
The development came days after an 8th Std student from GHSS Kuttiady named Riza Nahan moved to the Kerala High Court alleging that she was not allowed to participate in the parade for wearing a long-sleeved uniform with a hijab. In her petition, she claimed it was her “fundamental right” to wear the hijab and long sleeves. Riza had claimed that she was prevented from participating in the parade due to changes made to her uniform.
Karnataka hijab controversy
Recently, some Muslim students of PU College Karnataka filed a petition in the High Court to allow them to attend classes wearing hijab. They were denied access to classes because the college management said the hijab was not part of the uniform and could not be allowed in classes. Since then, the “students” have been protesting wearing burkas.
Muslim students had started wearing hijab and burqa at their school, college in defiance of uniform rules since December 2021 after coming into contact with the Campus Front of India (CFI), the student wing of the Islamist group Popular Front of India (PFI) in October 2021. The students had acknowledged being in consultation with the CFI.