Turban row: Sikh outfit leaders meet Italian envoy in Delhi

March 24th, 2011 - 7:50 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Mar. 24 (ANI): Shiromani Akali Dal lawmakers met Italy’s Ambassador to India, Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte here on Thursday over the issue of the forced removal of the turban of a Sikh man during security check at Milan Airport.

On March 15, Amritinder Singh, the coach of ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, was asked to remove his turban while he was about to board the flight to Sicily.

S. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a lawmaker of the Shiromani Akali Dal, said Ambassador di Monteforte assured the delegation that the matter would be taken up by authorities in Rome and Milan and sorted out.

“The incident has occurred twice. When Sikhs arrive at Italy airport, the authorities remove the turbans of Sikhs and the incident has occurred twice with the coach of Jeev Milkha Singh. Today, we told Italian envoy the importance of a Sikh’s turban and that no Sikh can take off his turban. He gave us the assurance the no such incident will take place in future. The Italian envoy said that enquiries are on into the matter and as soon as they get the reply from Italy they will let us know,” said Dhindsa.

Dhindsa slammed the government for its inaction on the issue.

“The incident happened because the government should have taken up the issues of the respect of its own people. The country, which is represented by Sikh Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) and the External Affairs Ministry of the country has a Sikh minister of state (Preneet Kaur), and a person of that community was insulted when he was asked to put his sacred headgear down on a tray where shoes are kept,” said Dhindsa.

He added: “The government should raise its voice to the highest level for the respect and security of its citizens. If they won’t raise their voice, how will others know that they should have done such an act or not?”

“Earlier, France did a similar deed but when the French President came to India, no one dared to address the issue. Similar incidents happened in US, Italy. If the government is not reacting, then why would people care?” said S. Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

Dhindsa further told media persons the party had called for a protest in New Delhi on Thursday but called it off after the assurance given by the Italian ambassador.

He said the party members are waiting for results of the investigation, and will proceed accordingly. (ANI)

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