New probe into MP school poster over ‘hijab’ row after MP home minister steps in

ByAnupam Pateriya
May 31, 2023 09:24 PM IST

The Damoh administration promptly inquired into allegations on Twitter that Hindu girls were forced to wear hijab by the school but did not find any evidence

BHOPAL/SAGAR: Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra on Wednesday ordered a detailed police inquiry into a poster by a private school congratulating 18 students for their performance in the board examination after a controversy erupted on social media over the girls wearing headscarves irrespective of their religion.

Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra ordered a detailed inquiry after the first probe ordered by the Damoh administration cleared the school (Twitter/drnarottammisra)
Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra ordered a detailed inquiry after the first probe ordered by the Damoh administration cleared the school (Twitter/drnarottammisra)

The minister’s intervention came after the families of the four Hindu girls who feature in the poster declined to file a complaint when the Damoh district administration first reached out to them during a preliminary inquiry initiated on the basis of feedback from social media.

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National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairman Priyank Kanoongo was among those who flagged the case on Twitter on Tuesday, alleging that it has received a complaint that a school in MP’s Damoh district was forcing Hindu and other non-Muslim female students to wear a burka and hijab.

In its inquiry conducted by the district education officer and the deputy collector, the district administration did not come up with any such complaint.

“We met school students and they denied that they were forced by the school administration to wear hijab. They said they used to wear scarves like hijab to cover themselves and their family has no objection to it. How can we take action without a complainant?” deputy collector RL Bagri said on Wednesday.

On Twitter, the district collector and superintendent of police (SP) made the same point that the inquiry hadn’t come across any violation.

Mustaq Mohammad, who runs the Ganga Jamna Higher Secondary School at the centre of the controversy, trashed the allegation. “This is a baseless allegation that we forced the Hindu students to wear hijab. They used to wear the scarves themselves and even for the posters, the students provided the pictures. We never forced anyone to wear anything other than school uniform.”

Following the home minister’s instructions, the district administration said it will carry out an in-depth inquiry.

“We will probe the matter and register the statement of the students and their parents to know the truth,” Damoh SP Rakesh Kumar Singh said.

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