The CBSE dress code issued recently for the All-India Pre-Medical Test-retest on July 25 is aimed at combating the cheating epidemic plaguing the country, but the new rules are turning out to be a problem for Muslim candidates who wear a headscarf or burqa.
The Hindustan Times reports on 17-year-old Fatema Akhtar in Mumbai, who has been wearing a 'headscarf' out of choice for the past two years, but is now at a loss on how to sit for the medical entrance exam. “My father took special permission so I could wear my scarf to school. Why will I give it up now?," she said.
Under the new rules, students cannot wear shoes, rings, bracelets, belts, scarves, caps, clothes with large buttons or badges.
“Wear light clothes with half sleeves shirts, T-Shirts, kurta not having big buttons, brooch or any badge, flower and trousers and salwars. Wear open slippers and not shoes,” CBSE said on July 9.
In response to these concerns, CBSE chairperson Satbir Bedi noted that the board isn't referring to the religious headscarf. “We are not referring to a religious headscarf at all. The instructions refer to the other kinds of caps and scarves," he said.
But no such distinction has been mentioned in the notification of the dress code to examination centres, HT reported.
“This amounts to a violation of religious freedom and therefore fundamental rights. Scores of Muslim girls may opt out," said Masoom Moradabadi, the general secretary of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat. "We appeal the CBSE to reconsider.”
Around 6.3 lakh students are registered to appear for the All-India Pre-Medical Test - retest on July 25, which is being held after the Supreme Court canceled the original examination conducted on May 3 due to large scale irregularities.
"The bigger issue is that the sanctity of the examination is under suspicion."the apex court said, last month.