Ground Reports

Amid Hijab Row, Bengaluru College Asks Sikh Girl to Remove Turban

By M Raghuram, 25 Feb 2022

Amid the raging debate over the issue of allowing girls to wear hijab, a 17-year-old Amritdhari (baptized) Sikh girl was asked to remove her turban by Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru, Karnataka in accordance with the uniform code and the high court’s February 10 interim order prohibiting students from wearing “saffron shawls, hijab, religious flags etc..” 

The college authorities questioned whether it was okay for her to remove the turban while attending courses. “We were just asking her whether it was possible; we weren’t sure if the interim order encompassed the turban as well,” they explained.

The student’s father, Gurucharan Singh, claimed that the problem began on February 16 when the college administration asked his daughter if she wanted to remove the turban. This is despite the fact that the turban is an integral part of their religion and faith. The student had tried to explain the situation to the college authorities. 

The institution had mostly accepted her explanation, but a week on, education department officials swooped into the college armed with a copy of the interim order. Mr Singh says, “I was summoned to the college after the department officials were not convinced with the explanation given by my daughter and wanted me to appear before them.” 

Mr Singh had spoken to them on the phone and had explained to the officials about the tradition of the turban in Sikh society. He had asked them to refer the matter in the light of the High Court interim order and seek clarifications.

The student explained that the government authorities have recently clarified that the turban is not limited by the High Court judgment. College administrators, on the other hand, have clarified that no Sikh student has been asked to remove their turban in order to attend class. They have only been told to clarify the turban and its significance to their faith. We have no objections to the rurban, “We simply had a talk in light of the interim injunction issued by the High Court,” the college’s Sister Genevieve clarified. 

Campus Front of India (CFI) Karnataka State Committee condemns the act of Mount Carmel College, Bangalore for denying a constitutional right to wear a turban, which is against individual and religious freedom. They said that actions need to be taken against such institutions that are repeatedly misusing the interim order. The repression of constitutional rights in the name of uniforms is a threat to the unity of the country. 

Athaulla Punjalkatte, State President of CFI, Karnataka has appealed to the Court to immediately intervene in this matter to ensure that individual freedom is guaranteed to all the students.