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Sikh blasts Garda ‘double standard on faith’

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Vikram singh, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. Vikram singh

    Vikram singh
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    Use of Bible for Garda Oath in contrast with force’s ban on religious headwear By Catherine Reilly
    THE HOLY BIBLE’S presence when new gardaí take their oath of allegiance has been questioned by a prominent member of the Sikh community.
    During a recent Garda Reserve graduation ceremony at the force’s training college in Templemore, Co Tipperary, officers swore an oath while holding aloft copies of the Holy Bible. A Chinese recruit was also seen holding a copy of the Irish Constitution, which is permitted for non-Christians.
    The Garda Oath involves a declaration “before God” that duties will be carried out with “fairness, integrity, regard for human rights, diligence and impartiality.”
    The words “before God” may be omitted from the declaration at the request of the declarant.
    Nevertheless, a Sikh community member has questioned the religious connotations of the ceremony, given that An Garda Síochána prevented a Sikh applicant to the Garda Reserve from wearing his turban – a religious head garment – in 2007.
    Dr Jasbir Singh Puri commented: “I think they should allow all religious symbols. They are saying no religious symbolism on one hand, and on the other hand recruits are holding the Bible while taking the oath.
    “Where [the force] are going, they don’t seem to know themselves.”
    He said if taking an oath on the Bible is consistent with the force’s “impartiality”, then the wearing of a turban should also be permitted.
    A case relating to the turban controversy was lodged with the Equality Tribunal in early 2008, explained Dr Puri, and is expected to come to hearing.

    Reacting to the issue at that time, the Garda insisted that “accommodating variations to our standard uniform and dress” may affect its image as an “impartial police service”.
    The statement added: “The Garda Commissioner has set the required standards of dress and behaviour for An Garda Síochána and these standards are binding on all members of the organisation.”
    At press time, Metro Éireann was awaiting comment on the use of religious texts during An Garda Síochána’s graduation ceremonies.
     
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