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Bangladesh: Women can’t be forced to wear veil: HC

Thursday 2 September 2010, by siawi2

Source: The New Nation, August 23, 2010

Staff Reporter

The High Court yesterday directed the authorities not to force women to wear ’burqa’ (veil) in educational institutions and work places.

A bench of the High Court Division comprising Justice A H M Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain also directed them not to bar women and girls from taking part in cultural activities and sports.

The court came up with the order in a public interest petition (PIL) filed by Supreme Court lawyers Mahbub Shafi and A K M Hafizul Alam in the day.

It also issued a rule upon the Government as to why forcing women and girls to wear ’Burqa’ (Veil) and keeping them out of cultural activities and sports for not wearing veil would not be declared illegal.

Secretaries of Education Ministry, Home Ministry, Social Welfare Ministry and Women and Children Affairs Ministry and Principal of Rani Bhabani Mohila College Mozammel Haque have been made respondents in the rule.

The court also asked the principal to appear before it on August 26.

The petitioners in their petition presented a report published in a Bengali language newspaper titled, ’Burqa mandatory at Rani Bhabani Mohila College’ on the same day.

Prof Shamsher Ali, an Islamic thinker, yesterday told the BBC in this regard, wearing veil was a question of decency and choice. “Nobody should be forced to wear veil, a religious dress, but a mass awareness should be created to wear decent dress.”

The Imam of the mosques across the country could play a vital role in this regard, he added.