Punjab school rakes up turban row

April 30th, 2008 - 10:16 pm ICT by admin  

Mohali (Punjab), April 30 (IANS) A private school in Mohali town in Punjab Wednesday backtracked from its decision to turn out from their class three Sikh students who had worn turbans. Principal Veena Malhotra of Lawrence Public School tendered an unqualified apology to the three Sikh students and their parents saying it was never her intention to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments.

But the apology and the reversal of the school order against the students came only after the families of the three affected students and local religious representatives, including those from the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), filed a complaint with the Mohali police seeking action against the school authorities.

Parents of the affected students, Sikh leaders and local officials Wednesday came to the school following which the school management took back its earlier order.

The three class 10 students were turned out of their classroom by the principal for violating the school policy of not wearing turbans. They were forced to sit in a room for sick students for hours before they were let out.

The principal argued that full sized turbans were only allowed as per the school policy for students in classes 11 and 12. She contended that since all boys in lower classes had to wear “patkas” (a headscarf or half-turban), these boys had violated school discipline by wearing turbans in school.

Mohali district police chief R.S. Khatra said the police registered a complaint but subsequently there was a compromise between the two sides. Future action would be taken if there is any fresh complaint in this matter, he added.

The move angered local Sikh leaders who likened the move to the ban imposed on turban wearing by Sikh students in schools by the French government two years ago.

The distressed students told their parents about their being harassed by the school authorities. They were not only turned out of their classroom but also imposed a penalty of Rs.50 for each day they wore turbans.

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