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Bangalore college allows bearded student 'for now'
Sunday May 26, 2013 5:29 PM, Agencies

A city college which has created controversy last week by disallowing a student from attending classes becuase he was sporting a beard, bent after uproar by local community leaders, and allowed him to attend classes but 'temporary'.

"I have told the principal to allow Zeeshan to attend classes till the Archdiocesan Board of Education, which runs this college, takes a final decision on this issue", Rev Msgr S Jayanathan, who heads the management of St Germain PU College in Coles Park, Fraser Town, is quoted by Bangalore Mirror.

He however said that the management had decided not to allow any student with a beard and we will abide by our stand.

"We have made it clear through the principal that we are not against any community. Certain institutions have their own rules. Everyone has to follow them", he added.

The controversy has been brewing for a while now. However, the situation got further heated up after 18-year-old M Zeeshan Ali (a second PU student) was told by the college authorities that he could not attend classes sporting a beard.

The eldest of the 3 sons of carpenter Iqbal Ahmed, Ali had started growing a beard for the last 1 year as part of Sunnat .

Zeeshan said: "The actual problem started last year itself. I have completed my first year PUC in commerce from this particular college and I was asked to remove my beard since then. But I had refused that time too and, somehow, the one year was completed."

Though he completed last year, the college reopened the issue this year, refusing to allow him for the second year without shaving his beard.

"As a precautionary measure I along with my father went and met principal Kanchana on Monday –the day college reopened after holidays," said Zeeshan.

"My father requested the principal to allow me to retain my beard, but she asked me to trim it and return. Despite repeated requests she didn't allow me and told me to come on Wednesday. She assured she would consult college head Fr Jayanathan," he added.

The young student said he tried to explain to the college vice-principal that the Sikh community keeps their turbans as it is their custom and on the same ground Muslims too should be allowed to sport a beard.

The vice-principal refused to relent, stating that it will hamper its secular credentials.

"As the principal had assured I didn't go to college on Tuesday. I went alone on Wednesday and met her. Once again I requested her to allow me to attend the classes but she told me to come to college clean-shaven or take a transfer certificate," he said.

Muslims account for more than 200 million of India's 1.1 billion people, the world's largest Muslim population followed by of Indonesia and Pakistan.

"Zeeshan has been studying in the college for the past year with a beard and now suddenly the management is asking him to shave it off," Tipu Sultan United Front's president Sardar Qureshi said.

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