Headscarf row: DPI orders detailed probe

Headscarf row: DPI orders detailed probe

 Staff Reporter

Alappuzha RDO submits report to the Collector on the incident The Deputy Director of Education, Alappuzha, in an inquiry, has found ‘merit’ in the complaint of a Muslim girl that she was issued transfer certificate from the Believers’ Church English Medium School, Gurupuram, because she wore a headscarf (maftha) to school. Alappuzha Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) A. Gopakumar has also submitted a report to the Collector on the incident. The interim report by the Deputy Director of Education (DDE) was submitted to the Director of Public Instruction (DPI) A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish on Wednesday. “The DD’s interim report states that the level of cooperation extended to the inquiry by the school authorities was not up to the expected level. The defence offered by the school authorities did not seem convincing to the DD,” Mr. Hanish told The Hindu on Wednesday. Final report today? On the basis of the interim report, the DPI has asked the DDE, Alappuzha, to conduct a more detailed inquiry — this time talking directly to the girl’s parents — and submit a final report by Thursday. Any action by the government would be initiated after the receipt of the final report, he added. Meantime, following media reports on the issue, the State Human Rights Commission swing into action and ordered an inquiry. The commission registered a case suo motu and ordered the Principal Secretary, General Education, to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit a report. In its notice, the commission said that if the incident was true, it violated individual and religious freedom. The commission said that this was an issue that merited urgent attention, a press note issued here said. The Alappuzha RDO conducted a probe into the incident on the instructions of Collector P. Venugopal. The RDO has taken notice of the statements of the student, her parents and the authorities of the Believers’ Church English Medium School, Gurupuram. The TC was issued on April 26. Though the report is yet to be made public, the Collector indicated that there was “basically a violation of rights by the school” by denying the student her right to follow her religious custom. The Collector said the meeting would be held in his chambers on May 7. Though the school is understood to have expressed its willingness to take back the student, her father, Nazir Musaliar, is reluctant to do so fearing repercussions for his daughter since the issue had snowballed into a controversy. Keywords: Believers’ Church English Medium School, headscarf, maftha, religious custom

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