Won't impose rules on food, dress or belief, declares Kerala CM

Pinarayi Vijayan speaks in the Assembly | Screenshot/Sabha TV

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed the Assembly that the government would not impose any orders related to dress, food or belief.

He was responding to a submission moved by KK Shailaja in the assembly here on Wednesday.

“Teachers, parents and students’ representatives discuss and decide their uniform. This government does not support imposing any dress on anyone. People have every right to choose their dress, food and belief by maintaining public order. The campaign regarding school uniforms is misleading,” said the CM.

The respective educational institutions, their teachers, PTA and student representatives should discuss and decide on appropriate uniforms and implement the same, he added.

"It is not the policy of this government to impose any kind of dress on anyone," he said and added that no specific directive has been issued in this regard.

People are entitled to every freedom in matters of dress, food and belief and there can be no extremist view regarding these.

He further said attempts to impose a dress code, including on women, are a hindrance to "our cause" of building a progressive knowledge society.

The government believes that all sections of the society should have the freedom they deserve irrespective of their caste, religion and gender.

We need to create an environment conducive for the same, he added.

IUML MLA M K Muneer had last month criticised the state government's purported gender-neutral policy with regard to schools and uniform worn by students.

He had questioned why boys cannot wear churidars instead of girls wearing shirts and trousers.

When the Balussery government girls higher secondary school in Kozhikode had implemented the gender-neutral uniform for its students in December last, a section of people under the collective of a Muslim coordination committee had staged a protest-march to the institution against the new unisex uniforms.

They had contended that the decision amounted to insulting the modesty of women and that it was part of "imposing liberal ideology" among students.

They had described it as anti-democratic and an encroachment of people's right to wear anything.

Nearly a dozen schools in Kerala had already shifted to gender-neutral uniforms at that time.

After Muslim League MLA MK Muneer slammed the government for ‘imposing’ gender-neutral uniform in schools, Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama and Congress came out against ‘imposing’ gender-neutral ideologies. The statement of the CM in the Assembly comes amidst this.

(with inputs from PTI)

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