Muslim Student Barred From UGC-NET Exam In Patna For Wearing Hijab

Muslim Student Barred From UGC-NET Exam In Patna For Wearing Hijab

In a recent incident in Patna, a Muslim female student, Uzma Yusuf (24), accused officials conducting the University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) of preventing her from taking the exam on December 6 due to her refusal to remove her hijab.

Yusuf claimed that she followed UGC rules, arrived on time, and was well-prepared for the exam at the UNO Private Limited examination center in Patna. However, teachers and supervisors allegedly denied her entry, insisting she remove her hijab.

She stated that she carefully reviewed the UGC’s website and her admit card instructions, finding no mention of hijab prohibition during the exam. The instructions did, however, specify that individuals wearing religious markers/attire should arrive early for screening.

Despite arriving early and undergoing thorough checking by a female guard, Yusuf faced resistance upon entering the exam hall. A male instructor, a senior official from the National Testing Agency, allegedly instructed her to remove the hijab.

Resisting the demand, Yusuf tried to persuade the officer, citing examples of how passport offices allow hijab even during biometrics. However, her requests were reportedly not acknowledged.

Faced with a choice between her religion and potential academic setbacks, Yusuf chose her faith, stating, “I faced the dilemma of choosing between my religion and academic setback, and I opted for my faith over potential academic loss.”

Yusuf, who has embraced the niqab and hijab since the 6th standard, believes she was targeted due to her faith, attire, and religious identity. Notably, the NTA official enforcing the rule was identified as a fellow Muslim.

Expressing disappointment over the incident, Yusuf mentioned waiting outside the center for over an hour in the hope of being allowed to take the exam, but she eventually had to return home.

The UGC-NET exam is a crucial assessment conducted by the University Grants Commission and National Testing Agency for eligibility in colleges and universities to appoint Junior Research Fellows and Lecturers.

When asked about potential legal action, Yusuf stated, “I am not currently in the right frame of mind to plan my next step, but I will certainly reapply for the exam after six months.”