Will not be deterred by resistance if any, says MES chief
Girl students studying in institutions that come under the purview of Kerala’s Muslim Educational Society (MES) will not be allowed to use face veil from this academic year on wards.
A dress code circular issued by MES and addressed to the college secretaries and principals, state that girl students should not use face veil inside college premises.
Signed by Dr P A Fazal Gafoor, the president of MES, the circular also states that face veil ban should be included in the college rules for the fresh college calendar.
Dr Gafoor is confident about the implementation of the order in all institutions coming under the Society’s purview.
“There are 72 schools and 35 colleges with MES. Out of 1 lakh students, 65,000 are girls. We stand for women empowerment. We are not narrow minded people. Additionally, we are just following the court order,” Dr Gafoor told The Lede.
When asked whether there will be resistance from other sects from within the Muslim community, he said that they are not bothered about it.
“We are implementing it in our institutions, not theirs. They don’t have to come to study here if they disagree with our norms,” he added.
The MES circular has cited a Kerala High Court directive dismissing a 2018 Writ Petition (WPC 35293 /2018) to introduce the new norm.
In December 2018, the Kerala High Court ordered that school students cannot alter uniforms as per religious beliefs.
Two Muslim students of Christ Nagar Senior Secondary School in Thiruvananthapuram, represented by their father Mohammed Sunir, wanted to wear head-scarves and full-sleeved shirts to school.
Sunir moved the court as the school insisted that his children follow the prescribed uniform.
He pleaded that the choice of clothing is a fundamental right to religion under Article 25-1 of the Constitution.
However, the court said that petitioners cannot seek the imposition of their individual right as against the larger right of the institution.
“It is for the institution to decide whether the petitioners can be permitted to attend the classes with the head-scarf and full sleeve shirt. It is purely within the domain of the institution to decide on the same,” the court said.
The Court added that it cannot even direct the institution to consider such a request.
“Therefore, the writ petition must fail. Accordingly, the Writ Petition is dismissed. If the petitioners approach the institution for Transfer Certificate, the school authority shall issue Transfer Certificate without making any remarks. No doubt, if the petitioners are willing to abide by the school dress code, they shall be permitted to continue in the same school,” the order read.
The debate on burqa (face veil) ban has been getting louder in India after Muslim women were barred from wearing the face veil in neighbouring Sri Lanka, following the island nation taking the decision citing security reasons after a series of blasts claimed over 250 lives.
This week, the Shiv Sena, through its mouthpiece Saamana, called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the cue from "Ravana's Lanka" and ban the burqa in "Ram's India" as well.
"The present government has made a law against Triple Talaq to stop the exploitation of Muslim women. After the ghastly bomb attacks, Sri Lanka has imposed a ban on the burqa and all types of face covers. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena also announced that the decision has been taken for national security," Saamana said in a write-up published on Wednesday.