The chairperson of the education committee of South Delhi Municipal Corporation in an order has asked officials to ensure that no student comes to schools in “religious attire”, The Indian Express reported on Friday.
The development came days after reports emerged that a Class 6 student of a Delhi government school in Mustafabad area was asked to remove her hijab by a teacher.
Several educational institutions in Karnataka over the last few weeks have made Muslim students take off their hijabs before entering the premises. On February 10, the Karnataka High Court in an interim order barred the students of the state from wearing “religious clothes” in schools and colleges until it decides on petitions challenging the hijab ban in educational institutes.
Nitika Sharma, who is a Bharatiya Janata Party councillor from Delhi’s Dwarka, told officials that parents sending children to school in “religious attire” is “not right at all”. Such actions, she added, can build a “mentality of inequality”, according to The Indian Express.
In her order, she wrote, “School uniform is prescribed for children studying in the primary school running under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, in which they look very beautiful. From time to time, the corporation keeps changing the colour of the uniform, due to which there is no inferiority complex between the rich and poor children studying in school.”
The chairperson of the education committee of the BJP-led civic body directed officials to ensure that children wear other clothes only during competitions or festivals. “On normal days, students should be present in school only in the school uniform,” the order stated.
Sharma, however, said that this rule would not be applicable for Sikhs. “Turbans are needed to tie hair,” she added. “In every school, Sikhs come in turban and no correlation should be drawn.”
Sharma told The Indian Express that she wrote the letter to ensure that incidents like the Mustafabad one do not occur in schools under her jurisdiction.
The girl’s family had said that she felt humiliated after she was not allowed to enter the classroom on Monday. “Teachers told me not to come to the class wearing this scarf,” the girl can be heard saying in a video shared on social media. “Don’t be like your mother, and don’t come to school wearing the scarf.”
On Thursday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the matter was being politicised and that the Aam Aadmi Party government respected all traditions.
“Delhi schools have an excellent arrangement to teach students,” he said at a press conference. “In our schools, students of all religions and caste are treated with dignity. There are no restrictions from our side and their traditions are respected.”