Sukhbir Badal urges PM to take up turban ban with Sarkozy

December 4th, 2010 - 8:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Chandigarh, Dec 4 (IANS) Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal Saturday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up with visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy the issue of the ban on wearing turbans in French schools and get it lifted.

In a letter to the Prime Minster, Badal said that it was surprising that such “discriminatory rules and laws should exist in a country like France which has been the torch-bearer of freedom of conscience as well as of liberal and democratic ethos to large parts of world”.

“These laws give the misleading impression that the government of the Republic of France is either unaware of or callous towards not only the sacred tenets and practices of the Sikh faith but also the proud liberal legacy and history of their own great nation,” Badal added.

The French government had imposed a complete ban on wearing of turbans, along with any other religious headgear by students to schools in that country.

The Sikh community, across the globe and particularly in Punjab, where it lives in majority, had strongly opposed the ban on turbans saying that the turban was a unique part of Sikh identity.

Badal said: “The turban is not just a symbol of cultural faith for the Sikhs but is an inalienable part of the Sikh identity as ordained by our Gurus.”

Asking the prime minister to impress upon the visiting dignitary the need to distinguish between the ordinary rituals of a religion and inalienable practices of any religion, Badal regretted that the Indian government “had not taken up the matter with the French government properly”.

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