The much-talked-about Damoh school row has come up again in the news with the latest development from the Madhya Pradesh (MP) High Court (HC).

The incident of a school from the Damoh region in Bhopal making all students compulsorily wear headscarves or a hijab was all over the news when it broke in May of this year.

Parents and students were said to be affected by it and the alleged enforcement had many people angry with a police case being filed against 11 members of the management committee of the school and 3 of the accused were arrested immediately.

Where Did It Start?

It all started at the Ganga Jamna Higher Secondary School in Damoh district, around 250 km from Madhya Pradesh’s capital Bhopal. The school had released a poster of the toppers from the Class 10 and 12 state board exams and it had all the girl students in it wearing headscarves.

Controversy however, erupted when it news came out that not all of the female students, around 5 in the poster were Muslim and right-wing Hindu groups made allegations that the school was forcing even non-Muslim girl students to wear a hijab or headscarf.

Although the owner of the school, Mushtaq Khan, tried to clarify that while the headscarf was part of the uniform it was not mandatory.

An initial first information report (FIR) was registered on May 31 against 11 members of the Ganga Jamuna Higher Secondary School in Damoh under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Juvenile Justice Act.

On 7th June Home Minister Narottam Mishra stated that he had instructed the Damoh police to file a case against the school’s management and soon a case was registered against Principal Asfa Sheikh, teacher Anas Athar and Peon Rustom Ali (accused before the Court) and management of the school for the commission of the offences under

  • Sections 295A, 506 and 120B IPC,
  • Section 75 and 87 of the Juvenile Justice Act (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and
  • Section 3/5(1) of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021

The FIR had been made on the statement of a girl student where it was alleged that the teachers would “force” students to “learn the Quran and reciting it on Friday was compulsory”. The student in the FIR also stated “As the area doesn’t have any other good school, I continued to study in it.”

Read More: Karnataka: Does Banning Of Hijabs And Saffron Scarves In College Evade Communal Crisis?

Principal Asfa Sheikh, teacher Anas Athar and Peon Rustom Ali were then arrested on 11th June 2023. The allegations were that the school administration was forcing the non-Muslim students to wear hijabs, teaching Urdu as a compulsory subject and prayers from the Muslim faith being recited and taught in the school.

Along with this, it was also alleged that Hindu and Jain students were prohibited from wearing a tilak on their forehead or wearing the kalawa thread on their wrist and those who did wear them were prevented by teachers.

Madhya Pradesh HC Gives Update

As per the latest update the Madhya Pradesh High Court granted conditional bail to the principal and the two other accused.

Justice Dinesh Kumar Paliwal presiding over the session reportedly thought that since the trial for the case would take some time the accused party could be given bail on certain conditions. Those being:

1. Applicants shall not repeat the commission of of ence in which they are being released on bail.

2. They shall not prevent students of other religion from wearing the essentials of their own religion as such wearing a kalawa and putting tilak on the forehead.

3. They shall not compel the students of other religion to read/study any material or language which has not been prescribed or approved by the Madhya Pradesh Education Board.

4. They shall not provide any religious education or material belonging to Islamic faith to the students of other religions and shall impart only modern education as contained in Section 53(1) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

5. Girl students of other religion i.e. Hindu and Jain etc. shall not be compelled to wear a (Hijaab anywhere in the school premises or in the classrooms.

During the hearing for the case, the accused put forward that it was the school management who had been behind the photos and made the headscarves mandatory for students and not the currently accused people.

It was also argued that the present applicants were only following instructions of the management and couldn’t go against them. However, the other side representing the state of Madhya Pradesh claimed that the accused cannot force students to wear hijab or restrict them from wearing their own religious items like kalawa or tilak.

Image Credits: Google Images

Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Hindustan Times, Live Law, India Today

Find the blogger: @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: Damoh School Row, Damoh School Row, madhya pradesh school hijab, madhya pradesh school news, damoh school, damoh school news, damoh school hijab, damoh school hijab news, damoh school controversy

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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