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UK School reverses ban on the Sikh patka
June 15, 2008


A state school in Coventry, U.K. has reversed its policy of banning the patka (Sikh head gear) after UNITED SIKHS wrote to the school principal last week on behalf of the parents and the local Sikh Gurdwara.


The 8-year-old Prabhkirat Singh, who has worn a patka since he was 4 years old, was very disturbed when he joined Broad Heath Primary school in January and was told he had to remove his patka in school.

Prabhkirat Singh


Mejindarpal Kaur, UNITED SIKHS legal director said over phone from UK that Prabhkirat Singh's father, Jaswinder Singh, from the Panjab, who is in the UK on a student's visa has moved from Glasgow to Coventry as he couldn't get a part-time whilst studying there because he wore a turban. Therefore, when the school said his son had to remove his patka they were doubly devastated. His son is very happy now as he will going to school on Monday wearing his patka.


When Prabhkirat was asked what was the feeling that made him stand up for the right to wear the patka, he simply said, 'It was a Sikh feeling.' informed Kaur.

'UNITED SIKHS wrote to the head teacher, Miss Byrne, last week explaining the significance of the patka or turban to school,' she said


'We applaud the parents for standing up for their child's right and we are equally pleased that the school acted swiftly and positively by recognizing that Prabhkirat should be allowed to wear his patka,' she added.


Mejindarpal added that it is important to highlight cases where schools have acted responsibly when reminded of their duty to protect religious freedom in school. 'UNITED SIKHS has written to the school to thank them for reversing the ban on the patka and we have offered to conduct a Sikh Awareness Presentation at the school,' she added.


Coventry has a significant Sikh population of 13,000, the largest ethnic group, comprising 4.9 per cent of the population. There is a war memorial in the city marking the sacrifices made by thousands of Sikhs during World War II.

The patka ban came to light when Kulwinder Singh, a resident of Coventry who first wrote to the school in February, requested UNITED SIKHS to intervene.

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