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Assam school bans hijab, suspends 4-year-old girl for wearing it


Arijit Sen,CNN-IBN
Apr 22, 2013 at 08:57am IST

Bokakhat: The hijab debate is back in focus, after a 4-year-old Muslim girl in Assam was asked to stop wearing the headgear in her classroom or face expulsion. Fatima Bibi's school said they cannot relax the dress code for one child. Meanwhile, her parents citing tradition have moved court.

"Hijab is a part of tradition. Not just for school students but also grownups. She wears the complete uniform and then the headscarf," Fatima's mother Alee Ahmed said.

Fatima's parents were served a 15-day notice by the school authorities. It said, "Either abide by rules or don't send your child to school." After that the family moved the Guwahati High Court.

"We were compelled to move court because we need to educate our daughter and take her forward in life," Alee said.

It's a case that could swing things inside the classroom. "Case is likely to set precedence for all children facing similar problems in various schools across India. It is associated with religious rights guaranteed in the constitution," advocate Jayanta Kumar Goswami said.

However, the school's principal is very clear in what the school believes in. "Uniform is to inculcate sense of equality. No high, no low, no rich, no poor. It is also meant to inculcate discipline," Father Jose Verghese principal Kristo Jyoti said.

The fear is that the individual right of a 4-year-old child wearing hijab to her school that could have been a non-issue, could be hijacked by different interest groups. One emphasising religious rights and the other equality of all communities. Trapped in between these interests is a 4-year-old-child.

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