Excluded Sikh girl’s mother seeks Brown’s intervention

June 14th, 2008 - 8:21 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown

London, June 14 (IANS) The mother of a Sikh teenage girl turned out of a British school for wearing a ‘kada’ bracelet has petitioned Prime Minister Gordon Brown to intervene in the matter ahead of a court case. Sarika Singh, 14, has been excluded from a school in Aberdare in the province of Wales since November last year in a case that has seen Britain’s substantial Sikh community as well as civil liberties groups rally to her support.

The school bans girls from wearing jewellery other than wristwatches and plain ear studs, but Sarika has pointed out that the kada is a Sikh religious symbol.

She launches her legal case at the High Court in London Monday in a hearing expected to last three days. The legal action is supported by the rights group Liberty, which says the school is in breach of Britain’s race relations and human rights laws.

Sarika has found an alternative school which is allowing her to wear the bracelet but her mother submitted a petition to the prime minister’s office Friday urging Brown to intervene in the matter “to show discrimination is totally unacceptable”.

The petition has gained the backing of 150 gurdwaras, over 200 Sikh organisations and thousands of people around the world.

Mother Sinita Singh said Friday: “She has lost a lot of education and if she had been in Aberdare Girls’ School she wouldn’t have gone downhill and she would have kept her grades.

“She has gone to a new school and although it is a good school she has gone two years behind. There is a lot of stress, worry and panic attacks. It is the build-up of everything,” she added.

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