'No Abaya 'Order By Srinagar School Sparks Anger Across Kashmir
SRINAGAR: A controversial move by the management of Delhi Public School here, banning female Muslim teachers from wearing veil on the campus, has sparked furore across the Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir.
The issue created ripples in the J&K Legislature on Saturday where the firebrand independent MLA from Langate, Sheikh Abdul Rashid, during the Zero Hour asked the Mehbooba Mufti-led government to take action against the school management.
"This ban on Abaya by Delhi Public School in Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir must be condemned and the government must take action. It is a clear attempt to infringe into our religious rights," Rashid said.
The incident came to light on Friday when hundreds of students boycotted classes and staged protests on the campus, demanding apology from the school management after a Botany teacher was forced to resign when she was told the remove veil on campus.
"If our female Hindu teachers are allowed to wear Saris on campus, what is wrong in Abaya? This is a clear infringement on a person's right to religion and the government must take strict action against the management," a student of Class 12, wishing not to be named, said.
The state government also hasn't taken to the move very kindly with the government spokesperson, Naeem Akhtar saying that Jammu and Kashmir was not France where the government imposed ban on veil for women in public office and educational institutions.
"People in J&K have all the freedom to take decision about their private lives. Our state is not France where government or some institute decides what dress people should wear. People here have all the freedom to follow their culture, religion and can dress as per their own choice," Akhtar, who is also J&K's education minister, said.
The move has been condemned by the separatist leadership in Kashmir with Asiya Andrabi, the chief of all-women, Dukhtaran-e-Milat, praising the students for standing up against the 'diktats' of the school management.
"The management of DPS has hurt the sentiments of our people. They must understand that Kashmir is a Muslim majority state and its people will dress as per the Islamic dress code. The protesting students have done a commendable job By standing up against their school's diktats", she said.
Veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani sought "unconditional apology" from the DPS management. “The school management should tender unconditional apology for this incident and should ensure that these kinds of silly acts will not be repeated in the future,” Geelani said in a statement.
The ban has also been condemned by other separatist groups as well as trade bodies including Kashmir Economic Alliance which have sought intervention of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti into the issue.