A college in Bengaluru allegedly asked a 17-year-old Sikh girl to remove her turban citing the Karnataka High Court’s order banning religious attire in educational institutions, The Times of India reported on Thursday.
The college was citing the directive of a three-judge bench of the High Court barring the students in Karnataka from wearing “religious clothes” in schools and colleges until further orders. The court has been hearing petitions of Muslim students, who are fighting for their right to wear hijabs in educational institutions.
Referring to the order, the Mount Carmel Pre-University College in Bengaluru allegedly asked the girl, an Amritdhari (baptised) Sikh, to remove her turban on two occasions. The first such occasion was on February 16. At the time, the girl reportedly refused to remove her turban.
The girl is the president of the students’ association in the college.
College authorities subsequently spoke to her father, saying that while they understood the significance of the turban for a Sikh, they had to follow the court’s order.
“On Tuesday, when [the] deputy director of pre-university education [north] visited the college, he found a group of girls in hijab and told them to come to the office and told them about the high court order,” The Times of India quoted a college spokesperson as saying. “These girls have been demanding now that no girls should be allowed to wear their religious symbols and therefore the Sikh girl also should not be allowed to wear the turban.”
The college subsequently sent a mail to the girl’s family stating that the student needed to follow the dress code.
The girl’s father later wrote a letter to the Sri Guru Singh Sabha’s Administrator in the city’s Ulsoor area on the matter, The Quint reported. “Asking a Sikh to remove his/her Dastaar [turban] is a big insult to a Sikh and entire Sikh community,” he said.
He said that the incident has shocked his family, and demanded that the Karnataka government and the High Court issue a clarification on the subject.
“We also stand by those Muslim girls/women who wants to cover their head with Scarf/Dupatta as a part of their faith and request authorities to allow them to do so as it was already practised in our country and it does not cause any trouble to other people,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Mangaluru, a six-year-old student is said to have been denied admission to a school as he was wearing a patka (turban), The Times of India reported. The school authorities have asked the parents to wait till February 28, so that they can decide on whether they can admit a student wearing a turban or not.