Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Hijab ban protest: Kerala Muslim student leaders walk out of jail

Twelve activists belonging to the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO) Kerala unit who were arrested and sent to jail by Kerala local court for protesting a hijab ban in a government-funded school in Kozhikode, were granted bail on Thursday.

The Muslim activists including SIO national committee member Muhammed Saeed TK, state campus secretary Thashreef KP, state committee member Adv. Rahman Irikkoor and state assistant secretary Aslah Kakkodi spent 11 days in Kozhikode jail. They were denied bail twice.

“Alhamdulillaah (praise be to God),” said Amjad Ali EM, state president of SIO Kerala while sharing the news of bail.

The Muslim activists were welcomed by hundreds f SIO, GIO and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind cadres outside Kozhikode district jail.

Two weeks ago, a protest march was organized by the SIO, the Girls Islamic Organisation (GIO), and the Muslim Students Federation (MSF) outside Providence Girls Higher Secondary School in Kozhikode, where an 11th-grade Muslim girl was forced to drop out because she was not permitted to wear a hijab to school.

The Muslim student groups have been demanding that the state education department stop its affiliation with the school as the school is taking an anti-constitutional step.

The student leaders were charged under IPC Sections 143, 147, 148, 283, 353, 332, and 149.

Hijab ban: 16-year-old Muslim student takes transfer certificate from school

The Muslim student at Providence Girls Higher Secondary School in Kozhikode had to leave the school three weeks ago after the school authorities said she would not be allowed to wear a hijab. 

The 16-year-old girl who was issued a transfer certificate, joined Govt Model Higher Secondary School, Kozhikode.

At the time of admission, the student who sought admission at the school for the Plus One course was reportedly told by the school authorities that she could not wear a shawl or scarf, as it was not part of the school uniform.

The student told Media One channel that she won’t be able to study at any school without wearing a hijab. 

Musthafa, the student’s father told reporters that they had repeatedly asked the school authorities if the student could cover her head, as part of her religious beliefs, but the school authorities said that they could not bend rules for her.

Muslim Organisations including the Students Islamic Organisation of India and the Muslim Youth League have sought action against the school authorities over what they called the denial of the rights of students to wear hijab on campus.

Though the student’s father’s complaint was submitted to the Education Minister, no action had been taken against the school authorities. Last month, Minister V. Sivankutty directed department Director K. Jeevan Babu to conduct an inquiry into the issue. There were no developments.

The school is under Christian management and run by a congregation called Apostolic Carmel Southern Province.

“It was a denial of her fundamental right to study in a school of her choice. The MYL would launch an agitation if action was not taken against the school,” said leaders of the Muslim Youth League.

“The Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who raised the issue of hijab in Karnataka, which is the peak of fascism, is expected to continue the same position in his own state,” Sunni Yuvajana Sangham (SYS) leader Sathar Panthalloor said referring CM Vijayan’s recent speech in Karnataka.

The Fraternity Movement, Students Islamic Organisation of India, Campus Front of India, Muslim Youth League, Muslim Students Federation, and Indian National League took out various protest marches to the school last month, which were blocked by the police at the school entrance.

School principal Silvi told Media One that there was no change in school norms. “The things have been explained to them (the father and the daughter). There is an option for the student to get a transfer from the school. In this school this would be the norm,” she said.

The school principal was unavailable for a response.


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