Teacher thrashes student for wearing veil

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Students of Khyber Medical College on Friday held a protest demonstration against thrashing of a veiled female student and called for immediate removal of the accused teacher.

College’s Anatomy Department teacher, Rahim Bangash, allegedly thrashed a first-year MBBS student for wearing a veil in the classroom.

Witnesses said the teacher was insisting she stopped wearing the veil as she had now been nominated class representative for the girl students. The student however refused she would avoid using veil.

This led to an exchange of arguments, witnesses said, while adding that the teacher could not come up with a logical reasoning to support his arguments, so he got infuriated and thrashed the student in the classroom. He later left the college even.

After the incident, students boycotted their classes and gathered at the varsity campus to protest against Prof Rahim Bangash. They demanded the administration to remove the professor for thrashing the female student. The enraged students were holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans in favour of their demands. They also raised slogans against inhumane attitude of the teacher towards students. A large number of KMC students participated in the protest. All the MBBS first-year students wore veil in protest over unprofessional attitude of Prof Bangash.

The Khyber Teaching Hospital chief executive meanwhile took notice of the incident, and suspended the professor.

Besides, the KMC principal formed a four-member committee under senior professor Dr Liaquat Ali to carry out an inquiry into the matter.

Pressuring a woman not to wear a veil contravenes a woman’s right to choose in the same way that forcing her to wear one does; both cases represent an attempt to control the woman and dictate how she should express herself. Even the right to a particular religious dress code is safeguarded by the Human Rights Act.

“Women and girls should not be forced to conform – it’s important they make autonomous choices about their lives and everything including what to wear and not wear,” said a female teacher requesting not to be named.

Muslim students, particularly females, studying abroad are facing troubles practicing the religious obligation of wearing a burqa or veil. In 2004, France passed a law banning school children from wearing religious symbols in all educational establishments, except for universities. Belgium followed the suit and banned the use of veil. Similar curbs were being instituted for Muslim students in Britain.

Many watchdogs say French and Belgian restrictions that rights groups say discriminate against Muslims.

Source: The Nation.