Did the Panjab Govt Raise the Turban Issue with the Visiting French President?
Chandigarh, Panjab - UNITED SIKHS along with Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Institute of Sikh Studies, International Sikh Confederation, Akhand Kirtani Jatha, Panthic Tal Mel Sangathan, Shiromani Akali Dal Panch Pradhani, Dal Khalsa and Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat will submit a letter to the Panjab Chief Minister today which asks if his government had raised the turban ban with the French President, Francois Hollande, during his visit to Chandigarh on Sunday.
On the eve of the President's visit, UNITED SIKHS had submitted a letter to the French President asking him to end the turban ban in schools and on ID photos. We reminded him that French Sikhs continue to be deprived of their right to wear a turban, even though, in three cases that UNITED SIKHS had filed against the ban, the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) had directed France to provide an effective remedy to those whose rights have been violated by the turban ban. UNITED SIKHS' letter to the French President may be read in full here.
At a media conference at the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Bhawan in Chandigarh today, UNITED SIKHS and prominent Sikh organizations said that they will be asking the Panjab Chief Minister what steps has his government taken to date to defend the Right to Turban (RTT) of Sikhs living in France who are constantly being harassed for wearing the turban. "In particular, we ask what efforts did the Panjab Chief Minister take to raise this issue with the visiting French President and what is the outcome," Gurpreet Singh, UNITED SIKHS Director told the media conference.
The letter to the Panjab Chief Minister asks the following questions:
  1. What steps have you and/or your government taken to date to convince the French government that the turban ban should be lifted?
  2. Did you and/ or your government discuss the French Turban Ban issue with the French President during his visit to Chandigarh on 24th Jan 2016 and what is the outcome?
  3. If you and/ or your government did not raise the turban issue with the French President, why not, considering it was your best opportunity to do so as he was visiting Chandigarh, the capital of Panjab, whose government you lead?
  4. What are the steps that you are planning to take in the near future that will ensure that the French Government lifts the Turban ban?
  5. Are you and/or your government prepared to discuss with UNITED SIKHS and other NGOs the way forward for Sikhs in France, re the lifting of the turban ban?
  6. Do you accept that the continuing turban ban in France will reflect poorly on your administration and your relationship with the Prime Minister, who has many opportunities to convince the French president that the Sikh's turban is mandatory?
A copy of the letter to the Panjab Chief Minister is attached and may be read here.
The media conference was addressed by Gurpreet Singh, UNITED SIKHS Director, and other noted members of the Sikh community including Jasjit Singh, Retd. Col. Manmohan Singh, Lt. Gen. Kartar Singh Gill, Ashok Singh Bagrian, Khushaal Singh, RP Singh, Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib, Harpal Singh Cheema, Rashpal Singh and Rajinder Singh.
UNITED SIKHS lawyers fought and won three cases at the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on grounds that France had violated, inter alia, the religious freedom of: 17 year old Sikh student, Bikramjit Singh, by expelling him from school, following the passing of the law that banned religious signs in public schools in 2004; of 57 year old Shingara Mann Singh when he was asked to remove his turban for his passport photograph; and of 76 year old Ranjit Singh when he was asked to remove his turban for his ID photograph.
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Issued By- 
Gurpreet Singh
P: +91 98767 62078
E: unitedsikhs-india@unitedsikhs.org

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