Hijab ban in West Bengal? Teacher resigns after college diktat offends ‘religious sentiments’; authorities say THIS

Sanjida Qadar, a teacher at a private law college in Calcutta, resigned over alleged hijab ban. College called it a misunderstanding. Minister supports teacher, questions college's motives.

Sounak Mukhopadhyay
First Published11 Jun 2024
Sanjida Qadar resigned and stopped attending classes because the institute allegedly asked her not to wear a hijab at work.
Sanjida Qadar resigned and stopped attending classes because the institute allegedly asked her not to wear a hijab at work.(Image for representation: Pexels)

Sanjida Qadar, a teacher at a private law college affiliated with the University of Calcutta, has resigned and ceased attending classes due to the institute's alleged diktat that she refrain from wearing a hijab while at work.

When the issue became public and sparked an uproar, the college clarified that it was a misunderstanding. The teacher was scheduled to resume work on June 11 after withdrawing her resignation.

Sanjida Qadar said that after May 31, the college authorities told her not to wear a hijab while at work. The teacher, employed at LJD Law College in Falta, South 24 Parganas, for three years, submitted her resignation on June 5.

Also Read: What you wear is your responsibility, your decision: Rahul Gandhi on Hijab

"The diktat from the college governing body offended my values and religious sentiments," PTI quoted her saying.

West Bengal minister and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Siddiqullah Chowdhury supported the teacher and said the college governing body president should apologise to her. He also questioned whether the college acted under the influence of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Also Read: Rajasthan BJP MLA faces protests from Muslim students over hijab: ‘Our children will turn up in lehenga chunni’

"How can the head of the management of a law college issue such a diktat? Mind it, children are expected to learn about the Constitution and laws at such an institute. We heard he has no objection to Sikh men wearing turban and women's headscarves. Why, then, is he targeting Muslims?" Chowdhury said in a video posted on social media.

The issue of Sanjida wearing a headscarf seemed to have escalated recently, even though she has been wearing it at work since March-April. 

Also Read: New York Police department accused of Violating Religious Freedom, to pay $17.5 million in Hijab mugshot case

The college authorities contacted her after her resignation became public, insisting it was a misunderstanding. As per PTI sources, they clarified that they had never prohibited her from covering her head with clothes during working hours.

College administration clarifies

"There was no directive or prohibition, and the college authorities respect the religious sentiments of everyone. She will resume classes on Tuesday. Now, there is no misunderstanding. We engaged in prolonged discussions with her. The initial developments were the result of some miscommunication,” College governing body chairman Gopal Das told PTI.

Also Read: Karnataka elections result 2023: BJP MLA who imposed Hijab ban defeated by Congress

"I received an email from the office on Monday. I will analyse my next steps and then decide. But I am not going to the college on Tuesday," Sanjida said.

According to PTI, the email mentions that the dress code for faculty allows her to wear a dupatta or scarf to cover her head during classes.

(With PTI inputs)

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