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Tanuja Khatun, a senior medical student at Calcutta Medical College, described the edict as “a ridiculous fatwa.”

“If I was barred from studying in a coed system, I would have ended up as a school dropout by now — let alone study medicine. I think most Muslim girls in India will take a stand against this fatwa, which aims to shackle women at home. If [Muslim] women do not get educated, the community can never progress,” Miss Khatun said.

“If a girl is not from a mixed-school background, she often feels uncomfortable and nervous in most of today’s workplaces where men and women work shoulder to shoulder. In fact, the grooming of a girl in a coed system helps her become a smarter professional,” she said.

“If I have a proper education of Islam, despite studying in a coed institution, I can confidently keep myself away from those potential evils the Deoband leaders are talking about.”