Gujarat: Probe ordered after school asks Muslim students to remove hijab before taking board exam

The Gujarat education department on Thursday removed a board exam supervisor in Bharuch district after she allegedly asked invigilators to remove the hijab of Muslim students during a mathematics exam, reported PTI.

The incident occurred at Lions School, a private institute in the Ankleshwar town, before the Senior Secondary Certificate board examination on Wednesday. The exam centre administrator, Ilaben Suratiya, who is also the principal of the school, reportedly asked the invigilators to collect the hijab of the students before they took the examination.

Bharuch District Education Officer Swati Raulji ordered an inquiry into the incident after the parents of one of the students approached her.

“On checking the CCTV footage, their [parents] complaint was found to have merit and so, I have pulled out the board exam supervisor of the school and ordered further inquiry,” Raulji told The Indian Express. “The school, in its primary verbal explanation, has said that the students were asked to remove the veil to verify their identity as per the hall ticket.”

The guidelines of the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board do not have any specific restrictions on the attire that can be worn by students.

“There is no explicit mention of any prohibitions in the attire of students and so, once the identification has been done, the students are allowed to wear outfits of their preference and appear for the exam,” Raulji told The Indian Express.

According to the complaint, Suratiya asked female students to remove their hijab on the second day of the examination. There was no objection regarding the garment on Tuesday.

“We have one complaint but there could be more students who were asked to remove the veil as the footage shows more than one student,” Raulji said. “We are looking into it.”

Also read:

One year of Karnataka’s war on Muslim women’s right to learn

What the opposition to the hijab says about Indian secularism and the sidelining of Muslim identity

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