Signature campaign against turban curbs

Signature campaign against turban curbs


AMRITSAR : With the launch of the global signature campaign, the initiatives of the Sikh community to extend their support to the small community of French Sikhs have intensified.

The French government has said that it will be banning ‘ostensible religious symbols’ in schools. This would translate into the Sikhs being forced not to wear their turbans in schools and the workplace. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has also taken up the issue with the French government through the minority commission. They have asked the government not to impose the ban on Sikhs.

Akal Purakh Ki Fauj, a Sikh organisation, launched its signature campaign from Amritsar . It proposes to collect about two lakh signatures in support of French Sikhs, said Fauj president Jaswinder Singh Advocate, who is also a SGPC member.

The SGPC had earlier announced to stage demonstration in front of the French Embassy at Delhi on January 22.

The demonstration was cancelled after Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and foreign minister Jaswant Singh said that they would take up the issue with the French government. Majinderpal Kaur, director, United Sikhs, in an e-mail to Times News Network on Thursday quoted news reports about a 50-year-old Sikh man being forced to remove his turban before entering a government building in Paris .

Jagmohan Singh from Bobigny, a suburb of Paris , had gone to the Creama Perfecture in La Chapelle to extend his temporary residence permit when security officers refused to return his turban.

Sikhs in France would be holding a march in Paris on January 31 to rally public support for their appeal. The tiny French Sikh community of 10,000 people were not consulted by the Stasi commission which recommended the proposed law to the government.

French President Jacques Chirac had given a call for legislation banning wearing of articles of faith, religion and ethnic identity in public schools and regulate their wearing at the workplace.

The law would ban Sikhs from wearing turbans. It would also prohibit Muslims from wearing head scarves, Jews from wearing skullcaps and oversized Christian crosses in public schools and workplaces.