Community Alert

Sikhs hold Peaceful Protest and Submit Memorandum to French President Hollande in Delhi


It will be an economical truth for your government to say that the turban is not banned in France when Sikh students cannot wear it at least 10 daylight hours a day when they travel and study at public schools. It is also banned at any time on the street when a Sikh is being asked to remove his turban to prove that he is the person on his ID photo,” said Mejindarpal Kaur, UNITED SIKHS Legal Director, in the memorandum to President Hollande.

15th February 2013, New Delhi: Sikhs held a peaceful protest outside the French Embassy in New Delhi yesterday against the ongoing French turban. This was followed by the submission of a memorandum on the Turban issue addressed to French President Francois Hollande, who was on a trade visit to India.

Gurpreet Singh, UNITED SIKHS -India Director, addressing the protestors, including Manjit Sigh GK (in a dark waist coat) , of the Akali Dal (Delhi)
Gurpreet Singh, UNITED SIKHS -India Director, addressing the protestors, including Manjit Sigh GK (in a dark waist coat) , of the Akali Dal (Delhi)

“If there was any doubt about the legality of France's (turban ban) action, the eminent jurists of the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) recently pronounced that France had violated the human rights of both Bikramjit Singh and Ranjit Singh by denying them their religious right to wear a turban....The global Sikh community says that France is able to reverse the turban ban for a photo ID because France has since adopted biometric ID documents, in compliance with EU regulations, which rely on facial features and fingerprints and do not require a bare head for the photo on ID documents,” Mejindarpal Kaur, UNITED SIKHS legal director, stated in the memorandum, that as submitted by a delegation led by UNITED SIKHS, the Akali Dal (Delhi) and the Sikh Forum, .

Jarnail Singh journalist, Gurpreet Singh and Daljeet Singh seen amongst other protestors outside the French Embassy in New Delhi
Gurpreet Singh, UNITED SIKHS -India Director, addressing the protestors, including Manjit Sigh GK (in a dark waist coat) , of the Akali Dal (Delhi)

“Equally, the nub of our argument against the turban ban in schools is that when a Sikh schoolchild removes his turban, his joora (top knot), which denotes that he is a Sikh, is visible. Hence, the French law that purports to ban the ostensible display of religious signs in schools should not apply to the Sikhs because it does not serve its purpose as a Sikh's religious sign (unshorn hair tied as a joora) will be ostensibly visible when the turban is removed, “ the memorandum stated. The memorandum may be read in full here.

Gurpreet Singh (UNITED SIKHS-India director), Manjit Singh GK and Onkar Singh Thapar (both of the Shiromani Akali Dal ( Delhi)), Daljeet Singh (Chairman Dharam Parchar Committee (Education & Youth Wing) Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Mangement Committee) and R S Chatwwal (the Sikh Forum) had discussions with Jean-Marc Sere-Charlet, Minister Counsellor at the French Embassy, after handing the memorandum.

“During our discussions, Mr. Jean-Marc Sere-Charlet, whilst accepting the UNHRC findings, tried to justify the French laws, indicating that these were not Sikh specific. However, he assured the Sikh delegation that France is in dialogue with Sikh organizations and individuals in trying to resolve the turban ban, “ said Gurpreet Singh.

You may read about the Right To Turban campaign in our previous press release here.

Mejindarpal Kaur
Legal Director
+44 7709830442

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