Assam teacher makes ‘hijab’ compulsory for girls in school; retracts order after opposition

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Guwahati, September 16: A senior teacher of a school in Assam’s Karimganj district has courted controversy after he made it compulsory for all girl students to wear ‘hijab’ to what he said was to protect them from “evil eyes”.
AB Hannan, a senior teacher in East Point Public School in Kanishail, posted a photo on Facebook on Saturday of several girl students with ‘hijab’, the headcover worn in public by some Muslim women, over their uniform.
“To protect my students from evil eyes and as a part of best personality of girls today I made compulsory wearing ‘Hijab’ for my all girls students at East Point Public School, Karimganj (sic),” Hannan wrote in his post.
The post, also written in Bengali, soon went viral. While some commented that it was a good step, others felt it was a wrong move as the school was not a religious seminary.
HT was not able to contact Hannan directly but a local news website quoted the teacher as saying that he took the step to save the girls from ill-mannered boys who harassed the students.
East Point Public School is accredited with the Secondary Education Board of Assam and is open for students from all religious backgrounds.
“At this stage, 100% of our students are Muslim and so when I took the decision, I said in future if any Hindu students get enrolled we will see what we can do,” the website quoted Hannan as saying.
He added that students had welcomed the decision as they have a subject on Islamic studies and while it is taught they themselves cover their heads.
However, the school administration didn’t support Hannan’s move. Following a meeting on Sunday, the administration decided that wearing ‘hijab’ won’t be made compulsory in the school.
Hannan then apologised on Facebook and deleted his first post.
“My post on ‘hijab’ has hurt feelings of many. Since the school authorities also didn’t give a go-ahead for the move, wearing of ‘hijab’ has been been made voluntary,” Hannan wrote on Sunday.
“I have deleted my earlier post and apologise to all for hurting their feelings unconsciously. Jai Hind (sic),” he added.
Officials with the district administration said they did not know about the incident and the police said that they have not received any complaint.
“We are not aware of any such complaint because of the teacher’s move. Maybe the matter was sorted amicably following discussions with the school management,” Karimganj’s superintendent of police Manavendra Dev Ray said. (Courtesy: HT)