Bijnor: Two regressive and strange diktats have ruffled feathers in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. While women students in Bijnor have been barred from wearing black clothing and jeans at a function to be presided by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, a college in Bhiwani has made it mandatory for its women students to be dressed in ethnic Indian wear such as salwar-kameez, as according to the college principle, western wear attracts sexual harassment. Reports say that the students of the Bhiwani college have also been barred from using mobile phones.
While the Bijnor DM's order was withdrawn after a huge outcry, the minority community in Uttar Pradesh says that it was an attack on their faith, and is still unhappy over the initial decision. Given that most of the girls are Muslims, the order effectively bans them from wearing the burqa. "Banning black clothes is essentially a ban on burqas," a local cleric said.
Girl students expressed displeasure over the diktat. "The DM's order to not wear black burqa is unfair. I never move out of my house without wearing burqa and gloves but now I have been asked not to wear burqa," said another student.
The Samajwadi Party, which heavily relies on the minority vote bank tried to distance itself from the controversy. "The government never issued a statement like this," said a Samajwadi Party leader.
The district magistrate denied forcing it upon anybody. "There is no such ban. We have just asked them to wear sober clothes. Our directive to the girls is being misinterpreted. No one has been forced to do anything," District Magistrate Sarika Mohan said.
Meanwhile in Bhiwani, a teacher in the women's college said wearing western clothes was not part of the culture and that girls should stay in their limits.
The National Commission for Women for its part has now asked for action against the college.