Milkha wants PM to take up turban issue strongly

March 16th, 2011 - 8:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) Legendary athlete Milkha Singh Wednesday appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to strongly take up the issue of Sikhs being forced to remove their turbans during security checks at overseas airports.

Milkha was extremely hurt after his son Jeev Milkha’s coach Amritinder was Tuesday forced to remove his turban at Milan airport before being allowed to board a flight to Sicily.

Jeev, who was accompanied by Amritinder, protested but they were sternly told by the security officials that his coach could either remove the turban or not board the flight.

Milkha said it was an insult to the Sikh community and asked the Prime Minister, also a Sikh, to take up the issue with authorities in Italy.

“I would request the prime minister to take up this matter seriously. It is an insult to Sikh community and is a matter of great concern. We should take it up seriously and such racial profiling should not have happened,” Milkha told reporters here.

Milkha, wondered, how authorities in Italy were ignorant about Sikhs.

“Everyone in the world knows what Sikhism is. Amritinder and Jeev tried to tell them that Sikh’s cannot take off their turbans. But they were threatened,” he said.

Amritinder said he told authorities that he belongs to a country whose prime minister is a Sikh but it fell on deaf ears.

“I belong to a country whose prime minister wears a turban and I feel that my nation should take up such issues with other countries. I have never had to remove my turban. For me, it is like being asked to strip in public,” said Amritinder.

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