Case for turban put before French official

Amritsar, January 29

Sikh representatives of France and the secretary for international affairs of Akal Takht today held a meeting with Mr Alain Boissinor, Director of Cabinet, Ministry of Education, France, on the proposed law banning “ostensible signs of religion.” The discussions were “constructive” even as the French representative assured that Sikh children would continue to attend their classes till the final decision.

According to Dr Jasdev Singh Rai, a representative of Akal Takht, the Sikh delegates explained that the turban among Sikhs was not an “ostensible sign of religion” but an inimical aspect of the Sikh appearance and dress. A majority of the Sikhs who wore turbans were not baptised, they added.

Mr Boissinot said the law would go through the national Assembly and would take about four months. Following that, adjustments would need to be considered. He said there was no intention to make it difficult for the Sikh children to attend schools in France and they would not be thrown out.

He said a solution would be worked out to mutual satisfaction and more meetings would be held with the Sikh community. He understood that there were ethnic, cultural and philosophical reasons for Sikhs to wear the turban.

Among those who attended the meeting were Mr Chain Singh, Mr Jaswinder Singh, Mr Iqbal Singh, Mr Manpreet Singh and Mr Shingara Singh and Dr Jasdev Singh.