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Controversial French govt may lift Sikh turban ban on India's plea

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by spnadmin, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

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    French govt may lift Sikh turban ban on India's plea - India - The Times of India

    French Govt may lift Sikh Turban ban on India's Plea

    CHANDIGARH/NEW DELHI: India may have found a novel way of persuading France to lift the ban on Sikh turbans by invoking Europe's deep-seated fear of terrorism.

    According to minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur, India has taken up the issue of French authorities taking photographs as identity markers and conveyed to Paris that if Sikhs are photographed without turbans, it would create a faulty database.

    Kaur said the Indian demand of allowing turbans in France was under active consideration and the matter was likely to be resolved soon.

    "The plea that we have taken is that the French government is taking photographs and fingerprints as identity markers. However, if Sikhs are photographed without turbans, then they are accumulating wrong records because normally, a Sikh will always wear a turban," Kaur said.

    Kaur, who was in Chandigarh on Saturday, said the fact that a turbaned Sikh — PM Manmohan Singh — was a chief guest in France recently was a strong message by the French government that it was not averse to turbans.

    "The matter is being pursued and we are hopeful it will be resolved," she added. In March 2004, the French Parliament had passed a law banning all ostentatious religious symbols and signs in all public places such as schools, hospitals and town halls.

    So far, all attempts made by Sikhs to convince the French government have failed.

    The 4,000-strong Sikh community in France maintains that it needs a commitment in writing from the French government ensuring that Sikh children who have graduated from the French education system will be free to work in any government job with their turban.

    It remains to be seen though whether India's appeal is taken seriously because even in 2006, the Sikhs had appealed to then President Jacques Chirac against a court ruling, which made it mandatory for them to remove their turban when being clicked for a driving licence photograph.

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