Women Barred From Taking NET Exam For Refusing To Remove Hijab; DMC Issues Notice To UGC

Published : 28 Dec 2018 4:52 AM GMT
Women Barred From Taking NET Exam For Refusing To Remove Hijab; DMC Issues Notice To UGCImage Credit: ANI

At least two Muslim women, in different states, Delhi and Goa, were not allowed to give the National Eligibility Test (NET) as they were wearing a hijab (a headscarf worn by Muslim women). Meanwhile, Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) has issued a notice to the University Grants Commission (UGC)–that conducts the NET exam–asking them why the students were not allowed to give the exam.


What happened?

On December 20, Thursday, Umayya Khan, a student appearing for National Eligibility Test (NET) arrived at Ojas Institute of Management, in north Delhi. When was about to enter the exam hall she was allegedly asked to remove her by staff at the gate, as reported by The Telegraph.

Even after Umayya’s protest, the staff did not let her go inside. She claims that she also asked the women staff to frisk her privately. However, she made it clear to them that she would be wearing her hijab during the test. After this, she was reportedly denied entry into the exam hall.

While talking to the Telegraph, the student also claimed that she even asked the show her any guidelines that barred her from wearing a hijab at the exam centre. She said, “It was not written on my hall ticket. They did not reply and just kept repeating: ‘rule hai’. I told them that my religion does not allow me to keep my head uncovered in public. The hijab is part of my identity. I finally left without writing the exam around 1.45pm.”

When lamenting about the incident she posted on twitter saying that the constitution gives her rights to follow any religion yet the “chauvinistic government servants” didn’t allow her to give the exam.

Similar Incident

Another incident happened in Goa when a 24-year-old, MA psychology student, Safina Khan Soudagar, was not allowed to give her exam after she refused to remove her hijab. The student of St Xavier’s College in Mapusa had gone to an exam centre in Panaji to giver her exam.

National Testing Agency (NTA) director-general Vineet Joshi, while talking to the publication said, “We have rules for frisking and arriving well in time, according to Supreme Court guidelines. We have advised the centres that women should only be frisked by women. In the Goa case, the examinee was asked to proceed to an enclosure for frisking, which she refused.”

He further said that the NTA authorities are sensitive to matters of faith and gender. He noted that several women have appeared for the exam wearing headscarves and there is no ban on them. While talking about the Delhi incident, he said that he would look into the matter. The NET exam is conducted by the UGC to determine eligibility for college and university level lecturership. It also awards Junior Research Fellowship students. (JRF)


The Inquiry

Following the incident, the Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC), issued a notice to UGC asking them the reason for not allowing the student wearing hijab to appear for the UGC-NET exam. In notice said, “It is a clear case of discrimination against a religious minority and an attempt to keep it away from the national mainstream”.


Also Read: This Hijab-Wearing Woman Is Breaking Stereotypes By Becoming A Professional Racer

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