Exclusion of hijab in uniform for Lakshadweep schools, Congress warns of proteststext_fields
Kozhikode: The Lakshadweep Administration's new uniform policy for school students in the Union Territory, which is silent about the hijab and long scarves that Muslim girls wear, has created a strong political stir in the islands. The Congress has called it an attempt to subvert the island's cultural identity.
The controversy has not only triggered intense protests but has also deepened the divide between political parties and raised concerns about the preservation of cultural values.
The Lakshadweep Congress, led by prominent figure and former Member of Parliament Hamdullah Sayeed, has criticized the new dress code directive. The directive, issued by the Education Department, has drawn criticism for its omission of hijabs or scarves for girl students, a decision that Sayeed argues infringes upon the island's rich cultural heritage.
Sayeed, an influential voice within the Congress party, accused the BJP-led government at the Centre and the Lakshadweep administration of imposing policies that are out of sync with the traditions and ethos of the island.
"The new uniform code is a direct assault on our island's intrinsic culture and lifestyle," Sayeed stated. "We will not stand idly by as attempts are made to erode our unique identity."
The controversy has taken on a multifaceted nature, encompassing not only the uniform order but also the broader implications of the government's policies. Sayeed has pledged to lead a series of democratic agitations to express his party's dissent. One particularly striking gesture is the threat of a mass class boycott by students, an action that he believes will underscore the depth of opposition to the directive.
"We refuse to accept a directive that disregards our values and disrupts our way of life. Our students will make their voices heard by refusing to attend classes," Sayeed affirmed.
This clash between political factions has also highlighted other contentious issues. The Lakshadweep administration's recent move to allow liquor outlets in the archipelago has been met with fierce opposition from the Congress party. A draft of the proposed Excise Regulation Bill has ignited a wave of criticism, as concerns about the impact of alcohol availability on the island's cultural fabric intensify.
In a parallel development, Lakshadweep MP and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Mohammed Faizal has voiced his own objections to the new uniform pattern and the draft liquor policy. The two leaders united in their dissent against the administration's decisions, have added momentum to the growing protest movement.
The Education Department, however, defended its directive, arguing that a uniform dress code is essential for instilling discipline and a sense of uniformity among schoolchildren. The department's circular, dated August 10, emphasized the importance of adhering to the prescribed uniform patterns to maintain an orderly environment within schools.