On June 26, as many as seven medical students at the Thiruvananthapuram government medical college hospital in Kerala wrote a letter to the principal demanding Hijab to be allowed inside the operation theatre. These students have referred to the Islamic religious beliefs which does not allows them to stay bareheaded.
The found of Hindu Seva Kendra, Pratheesh Vishwanath on June 26 shared the letter from his official Twitter account and wrote, “This request from a student of Medical College Thiruvananthapuram, is typical example of how some people won’t get sleep unless they infuse and insert religion in operation theatre also. OTs, due to aseptic practices are well known for fully covering the body of health workers and then why this demand? Mere eagerness to stand out expressing religious symbolism.”
Notably, the letter reads, this is regarding problems faced by a number of Muslim girls studying at the Thiruvananthapuram government medical college who are not allowed to wear a Hijab inside the operation theatre. Hijab is mandatory for Muslim women under all circumstances and the students are having a tough time maintaining a balance between their religious beliefs and complying with the hospital attire.
“Based on the alternatives for the hospital personnel in other parts of the world and based on what is available at companies supplying clothing for operation room, alternatives can be used,” said the letter.
The demands include long-sleeve scrub jackets and surgical hoods which will allow these Muslim women to maintain sterile precautions as well as their religious beliefs. The students demanded immediate intervention of the concerned authorities in the said matter.
The letter written by a student of the 2020 MBBS batch is signed by six more students from the 2018, 2021 and 2022 batches.
The college principal Dr. Linet J Morris said that he would call a meeting of surgeons and the infection control team to discuss the matter, adding that the team would decide on the request made by the students.
“We follow universal standards to ensure a sterile environment. I have told them that I am not in a position to decide on their request. A meeting of surgeons and infection control experts will be convened. Patient safety is of utmost priority. We will convene a committee and look at both sides and the focus will be on the safety of patients, which cannot be compromised.” Dr Morris said.
Ever since the demands to ban Hijab escalated in Kerala there have been demands by the minority community students and families to allow them to wear the same. The matter is sub judice and the apex court is yet to form a bench and hear the matter.
Recently, a school principal in Telangana faced a case against him under stringent charges of religious hate law for not allowing Muslim girl students to wear Hijab. The school is named Zee High School and is located in the Hayatnagar area.
News Agency ANI quoted the police inspector Hayatnagar saying, “Two girls, including a class 10 student, a daughter of Judge turned up at the school on June 22 in Hijab, the principal Purandevi Srivastava, teachers and the other staffers asked the girls to remove it. The next day the girls showed up again in Hijab and refused to remove it even outside the classroom. The teachers questioned them, baffled at them the students retuned home and with support of their parents they filed an FIR against the principal and some of the teachers”.
As per the media reports an FIR has been instituted under Sections 352 (assault or use of force), 295 (a) (deliberate act to outrage religious feelings) and 298 (words meant to hurt religious feelings) of the IPC and Section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act.
This is the second incident reported in the city recently, following one at IS Sadan in Santoshnagar, where college students were not allowed to take their examinations while wearing the hijab. The students protested, following which home minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali assured of action against the private school management.