Bank in Surat bans burqa, backtracks after protests

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Bank officials maintained that the notice was put up after recent terror attacks in Sri Lanka and there was no ill intent behind it.

Two branches of Bank of Baroda in Surat sparked a controversy on Saturday for banning entries of customers in burqas and helmets and then backtracked following protests from Muslims.

Notices saying ‘remove burqa/helmet’ and ‘no admission with burqa and helmet’ had come up at Ambaji Road branch and New Civil Hospital branch in Surat. On Saturday, Muslims raised objections over the ban on burqa which is a religious tradition.

As Muslim leaders raised objections, the bank said it did not intend to hurt sentiments of any community and removed the notice.

Bank officials maintained that the notice was put up after recent terror attacks in Sri Lanka. Only two branches of the bank in the city had the notice.

“There was no ill intent behind the notice. Also, it was not meant to target any community. It was done for security reasons. And it has been removed now”, Ambaji road branch manager Navin Gohiya told the media.

But not everybody was convinced with the explanation.

“Such notice definitely targets the Muslims. Helmets can be removed anytime. But Muslim women put on burqa to follow the religion. They are not supposed to remove it”, said Congress leader Badruddin Sheikh.

The ruling BJP maintained that the government was not involved in the in the bank’s decision and said that people’s consent is required even in the matters of security measures.

“The government has nothing to do with the bank’s decision. But the BJP believes that even for security steps, consent of people or community should be taken. Besides, the rules should not be the cause of inconvenience for anyone “.

Source: Hindustan Times

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