National

Is Nitish Kumar's Bihar Free Of Hijab Row? History Suggests Otherwise

In early February Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that Hijab is a non-issue in his state. The recent incident however portrays a different picture.  

Hijab row in Bihar college
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Even before the hijab row has been subsided in Karnataka after the split verdict of the Supreme Court, Bihar witnessed fresh protests by Muslim girls who were allegedly abused for denying to take off their hijab.

The incident happened outside the Mahant Darshan Das Mahila College (MDDM) in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur where on Sunday Muslim women students started protesting against the objectionable remarks they received as they refused to take off their hijab for the intermediate sent-up examination, reported India Today.

According to the media reports, some girls came to the college wearing hijab for the intermediate sent-up examinations. Upon entering the classroom, the teacher Ravi Bhushan asked them to take off their hijab as he suspected that some of them might be hiding Bluetooth device behind the scarves.

The girls immediately asked the teacher to call some lady guards who could examine them. They also assured that if the guard could find anything objectionable, they would leave the examination hall.

Instead of paying heed to their request, the teachers, the girls alleged started hurling abusive words. One of the teachers namely Shashi Bhushan termed them anti-national and asked them to go to Pakistan.

Losing their cool, the students left the examination hall and went outside the college to protest against the abuses.

The Reaction of the College Administration

On receiving information SHO of Mithapura Police station visited the spot along with women constables and tried to restore the calm. The principal of the college Dr. Kanu Priya also visited the spot and the students left after giving the exam.

However, Dr. Priya, annoyed with such unprecedented reactions said, “The history of the college is very old. All were intermediate students. These people were asked to remove the mobile and remove the Bluetooth. But, they made it a separate issue on religion.”

Referring to the poor attendance of the girl, Dr. Priya added, “This is a very shameful thing. The attendance of these girl students is less than 75%. Now, the education minister and the university have directed that girl students with poor percentage will not be allowed to sit in the final exams.”

His defence for the teacher was more vocal as he said, “There was no talk of hijab and the teacher against whom the girl students have levelled allegations did not say anything like anti-national and going to Pakistan. These people are creating unnecessary pressure so that the college administration bows to their demands.”

Hijab Row Touched Bihar Earlier As Well

This is not the first time that the issue over wearing Hijab could be found in Bihar. Back in February, a video went viral in the social media where a girl was found being sked to remove the hijab in a bank to withdraw cash.

The video was shot at Bihar’s Begusarai branch of UCO bank branch at Mansur Chowk. The video showed that four bank employees asking the girl to remove her hijab before she withdraws money from the bank. The officials were also found asking the girl to switch off her mobile camera.

However, discarding the allegation, the bank manager Ritesh Kumar then said that the employees were just asking her to remove hijab to confirm her identity. The girl’s father, nevertheless said that the cashier asked her to remove the hijab when it was her turn to withdraw cash. He also said that such incident never happened before. The father and the daughter asked the bank to show the written rules where hijab is proscribed.

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Meanwhile, Bihar State Minority Commission Chairman Prof. Yunus Hussain Haqim wrote to the MD of the UCO bank asking him to take action against the guilty staffs and to issue a sort of advisory to not repeat such things.

Hijab not an Issue in Nitish Kumar’s Bihar?

A few days prior to the unfortunate incident in the bank, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that hijab is a non-issue in his state. Referring to the issue as ‘useless’ the Bihar CM said, “This is not an issue in Bihar, we should not focus on such things…. It’s useless.”

While addressing the outreach program ‘Janta Ka Darbar me Mukhyamantri’, the JD (U) leader said, “In Bihar schools, children wear almost the same type of dress. If someone puts something on the head, there is no need to comment on it. We do not interfere in such matters. We respect religious sentiments of each other.”

Though Kumar said that everybody is equal in his state, the rows of incidents are not supporting his optimism. After the spit verdict of the Supreme Court, all eyes are now fixed on the larger bench that would be formed the by the Chief Justice to hear the hijab ban case afresh.

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