Beard turns barrier for Kashmir students

Srinagar: Four students from Kashmir, enrolled in a nursing college in Bengaluru, were allegedly barred from attending classes until they shaved their beards.

Citing reasons of ‘hygiene’, the college principal informed the students that their internal marks would be affected if they failed to comply.

The principal joined the college — the Adarsh College of Nursing in Mariyappana, Mallathahalli — less than a month ago.

The penalised students include three who are in the first year, and one who is in his second year.

They told The Hindu that the principal, Priyadarshini, summoned them and asked them to shave off their beard if they wanted to be marked in their internals.

“For the past week, we are being sent out of class on instructions from the principal for not shaving our beards. The management was fine with our beards when we filled the admission form and all of a sudden, the principal, who joined 20 days ago, asked us to shave it off. She barred us from entering class. The beards are part of our faith,” said one student.

Another alleged that on Wednesday, he could only attend two lectures.

“When the principal got to know that we were in class, she asked the lecturers to send us out,” he claimed.

“We tried reasoning with her but she was adamant, citing discipline and uniformity.”

When The Hindu contacted Ms. Priyadarshini, she said she stood by her decision as it was a professional course and that there was a need for students to be ‘disciplined and maintain hygiene’.

“These people are serving the patients and it is our protocol to ensure that the nails of our students are short and the boys come clean shaven and do not have piercing. Moreover, it’s an internal issue which was resolved with the college management.”

Bewildered by her decision, the four boys checked with other nursing colleges in the city to find out if it was mandatory for them to be clean shaven.

“We were told that there is no such rule,” they said.

The nursing college is affiliated to the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS). S. Sachidananda, Vice-Chancellor of the RGUHS, said the college management had erred as it could not hurt the religious sentiments of its students.

“We will inquire into the matter and issue directions to the college not to impose its views in this matter,” he said.

However, the students said they discussed with their families in Kashmir, who have advised them to shave off the beard and not to get involved in any trouble.

Courtesy: The Hindu

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