Scolded for Not Wearing Hijab, Disallowed Tilak: Claims in FIR on Damoh School

The school in Madhya Pradesh's Damoh is embroiled in a row over allegedly 'forcing' girl students to wear a hijab.

3 min read
Hindi Female

Forced to wear a hijab, scolded on wearing a tilak, made Urdu a mandatory subject – these are some of the claims made in the First Information Report (FIR) against Damoh's Ganga Jamna school which is currently at the centre of a controversy over allegations of 'forcing hijab' on the students.

The FIR, accessed by The Quint, was filed on the basis of a complaint by the probe committee of the District Collector's office on 7 June and has testimonies of three students – two 12-year-old girls and one 10-year-old boy.

One of the complainants, who is now in class 9, claimed that for classes 1-5, the dress code is a tunic shirt, tie, belt, and leggings and for classes 6-12, the dress code involves salwar, kurta, hijab, and dupatta.

The school has been embroiled in a controversy and is facing a probe ever since a poster hailing toppers of class 12 exams was put up outside the school with pictures of non-Muslim girls wearing hijab.

The student claimed that the school management "forced and threatened students to do things against their religion" and that her "religious sentiments were hurt and she was affected mentally due to it."

Key Claims in the FIR

  • "It was mandatory to wear the hijab and we would be scolded if we did not. We would not wear the hijab at home, we would wear it after reaching the school."

  • "There are 56 girls in my class, out of which most are Muslims and the rest are Hindus and Jains but wearing the hijab was mandatory for all."

  • "From class 1, Urdu is taught as a language along with other subjects, it was a mandatory subject and not an elective. "

  • "Every morning, we are made to sing Muslim prayer 'Lab pe aati hai dua' and the national anthem."

  • "We are not allowed to wear tilak or tie a kalawa (sacred thread tied on the wrist). The teachers would scold us if we wore any of these."


Bail of Principal, Two Other Accused Rejected

The details of the FIR emerged as the bail of the three arrested accused in the case – principal Afsha Sheikh, mathematics teacher Anas Atahar, and security guard Rustam Ali – was rejected on Wednesday by the Damoh juvenile justice court.

They were arrested on 10 June, just days after the FIR was filed against the school's management and teachers.

Appearing for the three accused, advocate Anunay Srivastav on Wednesday argued that the testimonies in the FIR seemed "dictated" to the children. The lawyers further argued that the complaints from non-Muslim students did not surface till the issue was politicised by right-wing groups.

The school management, including Sheikh, have claimed in the past that even though the hijab was a part of the school uniform, the students didn't face punishment for not wearing it.

The FIR on 7 June was filed under Indian Penal Code sections 295 (damaging or defiling any object held as sacred by any class of persons), 506 (criminal intimidation), 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), as well as provisions 75 and 87 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.

The provisions under Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021 were added later.

The school is also facing demolition for the past two days following allegations of not seeking necessary permissions to construct some new structures in the premises.

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Topics:  Madhya Pradesh   Hijab   Damoh 

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