JAIPUR: A Rajasthan government order exempting Sikh candidates from a state-ordered dress code while taking competitive examinations and allowing them to wear their religious symbols has prompted other communities to raise similar demands. On Friday, while celebrating the 550th Prakash Parv of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had announced the exemption. Following the decision, Hindu organisations have demanded that a ban on wearing mangalsutra, ring and other such symbols by women candidates in examination halls should also be also lifted as it’s a matter of faith and self-respect.
A dress code has been prescribed for men and women appearing in competitive exams by the Rajasthan Public Service Commission. RPSC member B L Jatavat said Sikhs had been exempted and the case related to other religious denominations will be governed as per the standing guidelines. Rajiv Swaroop, Additional Chief Secretary of the Home Department, however, said Sikhs were exempted per a High Court order but no representation had been received from other communities. Muslim women candidates have also demanded that they should be allowed to keep hijabs and saris. Nishant Hussain, president of National Muslim Women Welfare Society and state convenor of Bhartiya Muslim Women Movement, said “Vermilion, bangles and mangalsutra are all associated with the beliefs of Hindu women and hijab or burkha with Muslims. They should also be allowed to sit for exams wearing these ornaments or clothing.