Thiruvananthapuram: Ruling Congress and its major coalition partner IUML in Kerala today came out against denial of permission for candidates wearing 'hijabs' and veil to appear for All India Pre Medical Entrance Test (AIPMT), terming it as 'unfortunate'.
In the backdrop of large scale irregularities in the AIPMT held in May this year, the Supreme Court had directed CBSE to conduct a second test following which the regulator imposed a strict dress code, banned any jewellery, hair pins, head scarf or veils, shoes, watches and electronic devices.
A nun, who had refused to remove her veil and holy cross, was not permitted to write the test at a centre here.
Reacting to it today, Kerala PCC President, V M Sudheeran said the decision of the authorities not to allow the nun to write the examination was 'unfortunate'.
"The decision went against the Constitutional right given to citizens to preserve their faith and follow (religious) practises," he said in a statement.
"The central government should take steps to avoid these kind of moves that would hurt the sentiments of the faithful," he said.
Echoing similar sentiments, IUML National Secretary and MP, ET Muhammed Basheer, told reporters in Kozhikode that the Supreme court decision on the 'hijab' 'was not right'. This was a matter that involves certain issues of faith, he said.
Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis of Malankara Catholic Church said the incident involving the nun was 'disturbing' and raises questions regarding the rights of a citizen.
"We do not wish to rake up a controversy over the issue but it is disturbing to note that the nun was not allowed to wear her religious paraphernalia even though she was ready to undergo security check. What is it that is being targeted ? religious symbols or exam malpractices?," he said.
A three judge bench of the Supreme court, headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu had while dismissing pleas by some Muslim organisations to allow students to wear the traditional 'hijab' had held that "Faith is something different from wearing some kind of cloth," and some "reasonable restrictions" were needed.