New Delhi August 8 : Questioning the soft approach of government towards harassment of Sikhs in foreign lands, Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Member Parliament, gave a notice for suspension of Question Hour over the issue, on the fourth day of Monsoon Session of Parliament, here today.
Speaking on the Notice she said, time and again, incidents of harassment of Sikhs worldover she began by saying, “thousands of the Sikhs in their everyday life have to bear the brunt of hate crimes because of their mistaken identity due to their attire. In Wisconsin when some Sikhs were peacefully praying in their temples, people came inside, butchered them and killed them. Repeatedly, in countries like France they are humiliated, their children are not allowed to study in Government schools or a country like Italy again-and-again humiliates them at every airport of theirs in Italy.”
Decrying the removal of turban of Mr. Manjit Singh GK, Chief of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee at Rome Airport, Mrs. Badal said that it is the third incident at Italian Airport during last one year. Quoting the stark examples of ill-treatment meted out to Sikhs at Italian Airport, she said that earlier, it happened with Sardar Amritinder Singh, Coach of Golfer Jeev Milkha Singh who was asked by the airport security staff at Milan to remove his turban not just once on his arrival at Milan Airport but shockingly at the time of his departure too. Similarly, it happened to a Sikh senior commander with Jet Airways Capt Dhupia when he was asked to take off his turban during security check for his Flight 141 to Delhi from the Milan airport and now it has happened with the President of the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee who was not only asked to remove his turban but was also detained at the airport for nearly 24 hours on his refusal to do so.
Describing the turban as an integral part of the ‘Sikh Identity’, the Member Parliament said that the Union Government must mount pressure on governments of foreign countries to stop the practice of removal of turban on name of ‘Security Check’ at International Airports. She said that removal of turban on the name of security check in the foreign countries was a direct assault on the Sikh Identity and thus badly tormented their psyche. Adding on she said that the grave disrespect to the Sikh Identity consciousness in any form was intolerable.
Condemning centre for failure in safeguarding the interests of Sikh community Mrs. Badal said that in order to check this practice the Ministry of foreign affairs through its embassies in various countries must ensure the respective national governments that they must accord due respect to the Turban by desisting from such practices, which hurt the religious sentiments of Sikhs.
She said that as per international law, turban cannot be removed but the security officials at airports in Italy time and again do not let a Sikh take off unless his turban is removed. Highlighting the importance of turban for Sikhs, she said that unlike other head coverings it is an inextricable part of the Sikh identity and is worn by Sikhs at all times. Turban is not a part of the attire but it is an integral part of being a Sikh; Turban is part of our being, said she. “You may take off my head but not my turban” has been the reaction of Sikhs who were subjected to the tyrannical rules and they happily gave supreme sacrifices than to give up their turban, she added.
When would the government ensure that right of the Sikhs to enjoy religious freedom set forth as per the European Convention on Human Rights, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, asked Harsimrat?
Condemning any type of discrimination be that to Sikhs or those belonging to any other religion, Member Parliament sought strong diplomatic action.