A teacher at a Muslim university in India says she has been banned from the classroom for three months because she refuses to wear a burka. But it's not the school's administration that is making the demand -- it is coming from her students.
Aliah University in Calcutta has no formal dress code, but its student union has demanded that female teachers cover themselves with a veil. But Sirin Middya said no.
"There are eight women teachers at the university. It was decided through consultation that the women will observe purdah (wearing the veil), and most teachers agreed," Siamat Ali, secretary of West Bengal Madrasah Students' Union said. "Only this lady has a problem."
That appears to be an understatement.
"Most of the teachers do not like the diktat of the students to wear the burka, but they have no option but to accept it," Middya told the Indian Express. "This is the Talibanisation of educational premises and there is no one to come to our rescue."
The university is downplaying the controversy, calling it a "stray incident." The local government's minister for minority development has been informed, but has yet to respond.
About 13 per cent of India's population -- some 150 million people -- Muslim. Indian Muslims face widespread discrimination and often live in the most densely packed, poorest parts of inner cities.