Mumbai’s NG Acharya and DK Marathe College, located in Chembur, is facing controversy and student protests after implementing a decision to ban the hijab and burqa for junior college students. However, college authorities are now considering rescinding the ban amid growing concern from students and their families.
The college had introduced compulsory uniforms for junior college students and had communicated this decision to parents back in May, allowing them sufficient time to arrange for the prescribed attire.
However, the recent implementation of the uniform policy resulted in dozens of students being denied entry to the college when they showed up without wearing the specified uniform.
A senior police officer clarified that the issue is not directly related to the hijab or burqa and that no formal police complaint has been registered as of yet.
Some Class 12 students at Acharya and Marathe College have come forward with their grievances, asserting that they were not even permitted to access the washroom to change into the required uniforms.
The college management had reportedly made several announcements over the public announcement system for the past two days regarding the uniform policy.
One of the Class 12 students said “How can we come without our hijab, or a dupatta? We can’t show our heads in public. It is against our religion.”
In defense of the decision, Vidyagauri Lele, the principal of Acharya and Marathe College, said that a meeting had been conducted with all parents to discuss the uniform policy beforehand.
She stated that the college, being a junior college under secondary education, intended to foster a sense of equality among students regardless of their clothing choices. The principal also said that the decision was not discriminatory and that students had been provided with ample time to procure the required uniforms.
In the wake of the controversy and growing dissent among students and their families, sources told reporters that the college administration is now contemplating reversing the ban on hijab and burqa.