Turban frisking: Sikh leaders express outrage


Staff member
Amritsar March 17:

Even as the issue of Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh’s coach being asked to remove his turban during a security check at the Milan airport in Italy echoed in Parliament, Sikh leaders have expressed outrage over a series of “humiliating experiences” to members of the community at the same airport.

Talking to reporters, SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar said they would write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the matter with Italy at the highest level. “We will also seek time to meet him and discuss the issue,” he added. The SGPC chief said they had time and again raised the issue with the Centre, but all their pleas had fallen on deaf ears. “The government should understand the gravity of the issue,” he said.

Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said being a Sikh himself, the PM should take up the matter with the countries where Sikhs were facing problems on this count. He said all the outfits making efforts in this direction should form a joint panel and fight for the cause along with the SGPC. DSGMC President Paramjeet Singh Sarna said they had met Union Minister for External Affair Preneet Kaur last week and had urged her to consider moving European courts over the issue, as these security norms had been framed by European Parliament. He said they would continue their struggle and would not even hesitate if they themselves had to file a petition in the European court.

Former Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities Tarlochan Singh said it was a serious issue and he was making all the efforts to approach the Ambassador of the European Union to India in this regard. He said Punjab MPs like Partap Singh Bajwa and Harsimrat Badal did a good job by raising the issue in Parliament today and with Union Minister of External Affairs SM Krishna making a statement on the floor of the House, he hoped the government would initiate some measures aimed at providing succour to the Sikh community.

Jaswinder Singh Dhaliwal, Patron of NRI Sabha, Punjab, who was also forced to take off turban at the same airport, said, “I have been pursuing the matter with the SGPC and urging them to raise the issue with the European Commission. I have also suggested the SGPC to form a panel to deal with the issues relating to Sikh identity and their religious symbols abroad.” Earlier, Hazuri Ragi Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa was also compelled to take off his turban at the same airport and he had approached the Prime Minister over the issue.