"The school dress code for girl students comprises scarves, salwar and kurta." (Representational)
A private school in Madhya Pradesh's Damoh district released a poster of its board exam toppers in which some girls, who are not Muslims, are seen wearing scarves. The poster was widely shared on social media, alleging the girls were forced by the school to wear the hijab.
The matter was subsequently flagged to the Damoh district collector by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson Priyank Kanoongo.
The district collector said they got the NCPCR complaint on May 30 and the Damoh district education officer met the families of the students. The officer said no parent has given a complaint.
"The school dress code for girl students comprises scarves, salwar and kurta. But even if we forget to wear a scarf any day, we aren't punished for it. We don't have anything to complain about," one of the students said.
Rightwing groups including the VHP, Bajrang Dal and the ABVP protested in Damoh, accusing the Ganga Jamuna Higher Secondary School of forcing non-Muslim girl students to wear the hijab.
"The girls aren't wearing hijab, but instead wearing scarves, which is part of the school's dress code. While the hijab covers the entire body, the scarf covers up to the chest. We've never forced any student to wear anything against his/her traditions and culture," the school director Mushtaq Mohammad said.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said they have ordered a probe into the matter.
"Still we've asked the Damoh district police superintendent for an in-depth probe into the matter," Mr Mishra said.
A probe has been ordered by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan too.
"No school can force any daughter to wear something, which isn't in line with the student's culture and traditions. The matter of the Damoh-based school has come to my notice, after which I've directed the local administration for a thorough probe. Based on the findings of the probe, further action will be taken," Mr Chouhan said.