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Students wearing burqa denied entry; college says flouted new uniform policy | Mumbai News

A group of girl students of Acharya Marathe College junior section (Classes 11 and 12) in Mumbai’s Chembur area has alleged that they were denied entry to college for wearing burqa, with the college saying action was taken as the students “continued to disobey the new uniform policy”.

According to students, it was inappropriate to ask them to remove the burqa at the gate and they demanded permission to change in the washroom after entering college.

The issue came to light on Wednesday after a purported video of burqa-clad girls complaining about the issue was widely shared on social media.

One of the girls, who is a Class 12 student, said, “There was no uniform in Class 11. The college implemented it only from this year. We accept the uniform but removing burqa at the gate is not acceptable.”

The students said that they were aware of the uniform about which the college administration had communicated to them. Another girl said, “We are ready to co-operate but at least they should allow us inside as we come wearing burqa from home. We will change into uniform in the college washroom before heading to the classrooms.”

College principal Dr Vidyagauri Lele said, “The new uniform was applicable from June 15 when this academic year began. But students did not adhere to it. Until July 31, we kept reminding them through various communications. And it was finally decided to not allow anyone inside college from August 1, if they are not wearing uniform. This is applicable to all students, irrespective of their religion and community.”

When asked about students’ demand to change the burqa in the college washroom, Dr. Lele said, “Many girls have been doing that since the beginning. But several others continued flout the uniform policy. We will again propose this request to the governing council to allow students to enter college and then change burqa.”

Sharing a circular on the uniform policy dated May 1, 2023, Dr Lele said, “This change in uniform was brought in this year, after a thorough procedure, which also included meeting with parents….”

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Following the controversy, the college has now deferred the uniform mandate until August 8.

Advocate Nikhil Kamble of the Maharashtra Youth Congress said, “It is very unfortunate that in Maharashtra, the way of creating rift between two communities is happening through college. The Maharashtra Pradesh Youth Congress is warning the college management and professors that if the college does not withdraw these rules in the next 24 hours, the college will be besieged and a massive protest will be held.”

A few other political groups also declared protests against the uniform policy.

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