Teacher ‘forced’ to resign for wearing abaya at DPS Srinagar

Students protest at DPS Srinagar | Image courtesy: Kashmir News Trust

By Vijdan Mohammad Kawoosa and Asiya Tabasum

SRINAGAR: Students at Delhi Public School, Srinagar, on Friday staged a protest demonstration in the school premises alleging that the school authorities had forced a female teacher to resign on the pretext of wearing an Islamic dress ‘abaya’.

Students of classes 9th to 12th reportedly staged the protest early morning, which continued upto noon. The students initially assembled in the school lawn and then in the indoor stadium. The students have also started a campaign on social media to protest against the incident.

The protesting students said the school administration had rebuked a female teacher, asking her not use that dress code in the school. He further allegedly told her to choose between her job and dress code. The teacher reportedly came under pressure and resigned from the school.

According to an eyewitness, who wished not to be named, Pro-Vice Chairman of the school, Vijay Dhar, passed by a classroom, called the teacher out and asked her if her outfit was an abaya. When the teacher responded in affirmative, the witness said, Dhar rebuked her.

According to another witness, the Principal of the School, Kusam Warikoo, also told the teacher the same thing and told the protesting students that it was a rule of the Delhi Public School Society to not allow teachers wear abaya. “She continuously reiterating that it is a rule made by the DPS Society and you all should write a letter to them and she couldn’t do anything about it,” the witness said.

The protesting students have reportedly given a deadline of Monday, June 20, the school administration asking them to either apologize and reattach the teacher or face agitation. “It is about a teacher, we have to feel her pain. She is just following Islam so why is wearing of Abaya against the school rules?” a witness said.

“Then principal came and started talking with the students and promised to answer every question only if the students kept their calm,” another witness said. “She never really answered any question but she was avoiding them and giving some vague answers.”

The students have also launched a campaign on social media, especially on instagram and facebook, saying they would protest against the ‘disrespect’ of abaya in their school. “Blame the administration and not the school, we stand against the opinion of Mr Dhar,” a textual image read.

Another image read, “This school runs because of us so we got equal rights to oppose the administration and protest for our teacher who is our second family.”

The Principal and Chairman of the School did not answer phone calls. Moreover, no one answered calls on three landline numbers given on the official website of the school.