Mehnaz Parveen, a 30-year-old candidate from Jaipur who went to give her Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teachers (REET) examination, wasn’t allowed to enter the exam centre for wearing a hijab.
It needed desperate appeals to the administration and thorough checking twice that Mehnaz was finally allowed to give her examination.
While talking to The New Indian, Mehnaz said that she has never given any exam without wearing a hijab. “It is not just about the examination; I am not comfortable without it. Why should they force me to remove a piece of garment? I put my foot down and told the administration that I cannot give an examination without a hijab. I was ready to remove the hijab for checking,” said Mehnaz.
In the REET examination, none of the female students were allowed to even wear a dupatta and some visuals were circulated on social media when the sleeve of a student’s top was cut by scissors. These rules were made to prevent students from cheating.
Mehnaz, a resident of Shastri Nagar in Jaipur, had to give her exam in a school in Mansarover, Jaipur.
“They stopped me at the main gate and said that I had to remove it. When I refused, the headmaster of the school was called. He sent me for checking after which I was allowed to enter. But then in the exam hall, two teachers objected and said it is against the rule. Again, the headmaster was called, I was frisked and then finally allowed to sit for the examination,” said Mehnaz.
She wears a niqab in public but during the examination, she wears a hijab without any niqab.
Mohsin Rasheed, the state coordinator of the Congress Minority Department, raised this issue with the administration and on social media.
“If the government is not capable of preventing cheating, does that mean they will remove people’s clothes? If that is the case, will they also remove a turban of a Sikh person? Even removing dupattas is wrong. The dignity of women is important and should be maintained,” he said.
Mehnaz was allowed to give the examination but she said that such experiences are traumatizing.