Students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi on Monday alleged that they had been asked to leave a National Cadet Corps camp for sporting beards, The Indian Express reported.
The 10 students alleged that authorities told them on Saturday to “shave their beards overnight” or leave the camp. When they refused to do so, they were served with an order to leave. The students also told The Indian Express that they asked the authorities to mention the reason for their eviction, but were instead given notices for “indiscipline”.
The students then stayed outside the National Cadet Corps camp in Rohini, and reached Jamia Millia Islamia on Sunday morning where student organisations protested their eviction.
“We were evicted only because of our beards,” Dilshad Ahmed, one of the students, said. “I have been to the Attachment Training camp, National Integration Camp, but our beards have never been a problem. This time, we had written an application saying our beards have a religious importance and we should be told if there was a problem. But on the sixth day, the authorities asked us to either shave our beards or leave”.
Ahmed said the students did not want to leave without an eviction notice because it could later be alleged that they had run away from the camp. “So, our belongings were thrown out of the gate,” he alleged.
Lieutenant Colonel SBS Yadav told The Indian Express that the students were evicted because of a “discipline issue”. “I told them it is their wish if they wanted to follow their religion...and if they were not comfortable [with the rule against beards], they were at liberty to move out,” he said. Yadav added that the NCC allowed only Sikh men to sport beards.
Jamia Millia Islamia Vice Chancellor Talat Ahmad said that he has met the students. “One of them showed a letter issued by NCC that said they were asked to leave over NCC rules and act. I will speak to higher officials and find out about the NCC rules to resolve this matter,” said Ahmad, according to the Hindustan Times.