Sikh community asks PM to take up ban on turban with Sarkozy
25 Jan 2008

New Delhi (PTI): As French President Nicolas Sarkozy began a two-day visit to India, the Sikh community on Friday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up with him the issue of ban on turbans in schools in France.

"Turban is the most recognisable feature of a Sikh. Unlike other head coverings, it is an inextricable part of the Sikh identity and is worn by them at all times to cover their unshorn hair, a mandatory article of their faith," Mejindarpal Kaur, a lawyer with United Sikh said at a press conference.

As part of the core identity of a Sikh, this law essentially has the effect of banning the practice of the Sikh religion in France, she added.

Due to the imposition of law, children refusing to remove their turban are being expelled from the schools, Manjeet Singh G K, President of Akali Dal (Panthik) said.

He added, since the law came into force, France has also not issued passports, driving license and residence cards to the Sikhs who refuse to remove their turban for their ID photos.

"We urge Singh to take up the issue with Sarkozy and ensure that it is resolved, thereby preserving the pride and dignity of the community," Daljeet Singh of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee said.

Seeking lifting of the ban, he said "the fact that Singh himself is a Sikh who is never seen without his turban is sufficient to prove that a Sikh is inseparable from his turban."

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