Pak human rights activist argues Sikh turban issue before UN committee Punjab Newsline Network Saturday, 23 September 2006 CHANDIGARH: The Pakistan Human rights activist Asma Jahangir who has taken up the ban on issue of Sikh turban in France with the United Nations has expressed shock over the French attitude towards religious symbols. She had in vain argued the case before a 45 member council of United Nations on Freedom of religion. The issue was taken up on Friday by the UN Human Rights Council which is in its second session in Genava. The French government in its reply to the UN special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief has defended the decision on turban ban saying it was aimed at bringing all the primary and high school students at par with each other. French diplomat Jean Maurice Ripert's reply indicates that the there has been no change in the government stance on the issue criticism from all quarters. Even the UN committees on the Rights of the Child and Elimination of Racial Discrimination in their observations expressed concern over the French decision. Speaking before the council, Jahangir raised serious concern over the French law saying, "....another religious minority that has been seriously affected by the adoption of law is the Sikh community". The Frech diplomat however defended ban on turban saying law is only applicable to school students and not to those going to universities. He said that French government was conscious about protecting the rights of the people living in France. Asma has said that during her visit to France Sikhs told her that displaying religious symbols was essential in their religion. She said it was difficult to assess how many children have stopped going to schools due to ban on religious symbols.