Chembur College Now Bans Hijab & Other Clothing For Degree College Students

The restrictions on traditional clothing have been met with opposition from some Muslim women students.

Chembur College Now Bans Hijab & Other Clothing For Degree College Students
(Representational Image)

In a recent development, Acharya Marathe College, Chembur, Mumbai, has extended its ban on Muslim women wearing headscarves and burqas to its degree level. Earlier, a similar ban was imposed at the junior college. 

In the beginning of this month, the college implemented a dress code that prohibits outfits which are considered "revealing" and those of religious significance, such as hijab, niqab, and burqa. These are traditional items of clothing wore by Muslim women. This caused outrage among many female Muslim students at the institute.

Recently, college employees shared updated guidelines for students on WhatsApp groups. The guidelines stated that from June, when the new academic year officially begins, students should only dress in "formal" and "decent" attire. 

Female students are asked to wear any "non-revealing full formal dress," whether it be "Indian or Western," while male students are asked to be in shirts and "normal" trousers as per the guidelines. 

The guidelines also state that students must remove their burka, hijab, nikab, or any religious part of dress like a scarf, badge, or headgear in a common area as soon as they enter the campus. Interestingly, the dress code will be relaxed on Thursdays.

Many Muslim women students have opposed the restrictions on traditional clothing. On Monday, May 13, 30 students wrote to the institution asking it to rethink the decision. 

The students have also written complaints to national and state human rights commissions, alleging that the college's decision is discriminatory. They argue that while Muslim students are not allowed to wear their traditional attire, staff members are allowed to wear religious symbols and pray on campus.

In August 2023, a uniform was adopted for its junior college for the first time in its more than four-decade history. The college banned junior students wearing burqas and hijabs from entering the campus. 

Following student complaints, the college allowed them on campus but asked them to remove their headgear before entering classrooms. This change led to many Muslim girls leaving the college.

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