Bangladesh bans compulsory religious wear

HC ordered places of work and education not to enforce religious clothing.

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2010, 11:54 AM IST

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s high court has ordered places of work and education in the Muslim country not to force employees and students to wear skull caps, veils and other religious clothing, a lawyer said on Sunday.

The ruling follows a report in mass-circulated Bengali daily Kaler Kantha that a principal at a state-run college in northern Bangladesh has forced students to wear veils.

"The high court judges passed the order directing that wearing religious attire should be the personal choice of the students or the employees. No one can be forced to wear them," barrister Mahbub Shafique said.

"Besides, we have noticed that some schools force children as young as five years old to wear veils and skull caps. Following the court order, no schools can now force this attire on their students," he said.

In April, the high court ordered educational institutions not to force veils or head scarves on female employees.

The order followed a complaint lodged by a headmistress who said she was verbally assaulted by a government official for not covering her hair during a staff meeting.

In recent years, Bangladesh has seen a rise in reported incidents of sexual harassment at educational institutions. The country has recently deployed plain-clothed police at schools in the capital to prevent bullying of female students.

Bureau Report