College principal resigns after harassment over Hijab in Maharashtra

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The principal of a law college in Maharashtra has resigned from her post following harassment for wearing a head scarf/ hijab on the campus.

A head scarf/ hijab-wearing Muslim principal, Dr Battull Hammid, who belongs to Dawoodi Bohra community and led the VIVA College of Law in Virar, said that an unharmonious and suffocating atmosphere was created in the college management following the anti- head scarp/ hijab campaign in southern Indian state Karnakata.

“It is matter of general notice that as the Principal of VIVA College of law since my appointment on 19th July, 2019 on substantial post, my work has always been admired by the Management Committee, the teaching as well as non-teaching staff and the students but for a few days I feel uncomfortable as the atmosphere around me is made unhormonious and suffocating so it is hardly possible to continue to discharge my duties as the Principal of VIVA College of Law. I hence, tender my resignation with immediate effect,” said Hammid in her letter to the college authorities.

According to the media report, Battul said that the situation was normal in the last two years after she joined the college in July 2019, however she was harassed by people in the management following the anti-Hijab campaign in Karnataka.

Days earlier a few members of her community had come to the institution to enquire about admissions following which the management accused her of indulging in the propagation of her religion on the campus, she said.

“They celebrate Haldi Kumkum and [organise recitation of] Saraswati Vandana on the campus. Are these not religious activities? Just a few people came to meet me, gave respect to me and it became an issue for them,” said Hammid. Battull believed that she would be fired for one reason or another. In a bit to avoid such a situation and save her dignity, she handed over her resignation. “I resigned to save my dignity and culture,” she stated.

Battull also added that her work and leadership over the years had been appreciated by the management.

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