DMC takes note as minorities face checking hassles
THE Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) has expressed concern over Muslim women and Sikh men facing “persecution on the pretext of security and frisking” at examination centres and metro stations in the national Capital.
According to the DMC, such “persecution” has sometimes even prevented members of the minority community from writing examinations or boarding a train.
The Sunday Standard contacted a few people who had filed complaints with the DMC in this regard.
‘Hijab’ clad Eram Farooqui, who was to appear for a test by the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) in July, could not do so “despite being properly frisked” by the women security personnel at the examination centre.
“They asked me to remove my headscarf. I did that and was frisked completely. However, they stopped me from entering the examination hall and said I would only be allowed inside without my headscarf. I couldn’t do that as the scarf is part of my religious dress code and I feel uncomfortable without it. I request- ed them repeatedly to make an allowance, but when they didn’t, I had no choice but leave without taking the test,” said Farooqui, who was to appear for an examination for special educators.
In fact, so rattled are the minorities by such incidents that a Delhi resident, Farah Zeba (name changed), filed a preemptive complaint with the DMC as she feared that she might be prevented from appearing for the DSSSB examination on Sunday. Farah requested DMC to ensure that she would be allowed to take the examina- tion without having to take off her scarf.
Harminder Singh, a Sikh who carries a ‘kirpan’ (small dagger) as part of his religious code, was stopped by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel from entering the Dhaula Kuan Metro Station when he wanted to catch the Airport Express five months ago.
Singh, who had a train to catch from New Delhi Railway Station, got delayed for about 20 minutes at Dhaula Kuan as it took a lot of effort to convince CISF officials to allow him to board the train with his ‘kirpan.’
“I repeatedly explained to the CISF official that there are certain specifications for allowing ‘kirpans’, given by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation itself. I lost a lot of time but thankfully my train was late and I managed to catch it. But the harassment left me shaken,” Singh wrote in his complaint to DMC.
DMC Chairman, Zafarul Islam Khan, said they had received similar complaints in the past too and had been taking up the issue with the authorities.
“Farah’s complaint required immediate attention, so we decided to pass an order in this regard,” he said.
The DMC’s order read, “While security precautions are required, but the same should not be used to harm the interests of minority individuals, especially students.”
The DMC cited a 21 July ruling where the Kerala High Court permitted two Muslim girls to wear a headscarf in the examination hall on the condition that they come in 30 minutes early for a security check and frisking by women invigilators.
Regarding Singh’s case, Khan said, “We have already written to the CISF about the inconvenience faced by minorities at metro stations and they have assured us that this won’t be repeated. They have sensitised their staff also.”
“We also wrote to the DSSSB, but have not received any response from them,” he added.
Khan stressed on the need to create more awareness about the Kerala HC’s directive and said while security staff is fully within its rights to frisk Muslim women, candidates must be told in advance that they have to present themselves for security check 30 minutes or an hour before the normal reporting time.
Regarding rights of Sikhs, the DMC said Article 25 of the Indian Constitution allows them to carry ‘kirpans’, hence they must be allowed to wear ‘kirpans’.
We have written to the CISF about the inconvenience faced by minorities at metro stations and they have assured us this won’t be repeated. They have sensitised their staff also
Zafarul Islam Khan, DMC Chairman