The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday censured the management of Delhi Public School, Srinagar, for the alleged ban on wearing traditional Islamic dress abaya, saying “this is not France”.
The school administration had allegedly asked a teacher to either stop wearing the abaya — a loose, full-length outer garment which covers the whole body except the face, hands and feet — or leave the job. She reportedly got angry and left, prompting protests by students on Friday.
The issue was raised in the state assembly during the zero hour session by Independent MLA Engineer Abdul Rashid. He said the ban by a Delhi-based educational trust in a Muslim state was condemnable.
Education minister Naeem Akhtar responded on behalf of the government saying they will raise the issue with the school authorities. “It is a private school and we will get into the (sic) truth of the issue,” Akhtar said. “We live in a country with (sic) multi-cultural and multi-religious setup. We have a secular fabric. No force on any such issue will be accepted; we are not France where the government or some institute decides what dress people should wear,” he said.
He said people have all the freedom to follow their culture and can dress according to their choice.
France has banned veils worn by Muslim women at public places. DPS teachers said they are allowed to wear the hijab but are asked to refrain from wearing Abaya inside the school. The administration has refused to comment.