Pacific Oz School Apologizes For Forcing Sikh Boy To Shave

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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
A catholic school in Australia, which had forced a Sikh student to shave off his beard, has apologised to him, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said. In a communique to Rajya Sabha MP Avinash Rai Khanna, who had demanded Central government's intervention into the incident that took place last month, the MEA said principal of the Melbourne-based school sought an apology from the Sikh student.

"The MEA said it had taken up the issue with the High Commission in Canberra which informed it that the school principal has apologised to the student for hurting religious sentiments," Khanna told reporters here today.

According to the letter, the Indian High Commission at Canberra was told that as per the school's rules and regulations, it is mandatory for students to shave off their facial hair. However, at no stage the boy indicated his religious practices and his beard was not shaved off, the MP said.

Last month, the Sikh boy, studying in class 11 at an outer northern Christian school in Melbourne, was forced to shave off his beard by the school administration, sparking an outrage among the Indian community which accused the institute of religious discrimination.


May 9, 2006
I'm a little bit confused by this story. In Australia, the school wouldn't have held the boy down or threatened him with violence for not removing his beard... So where does the forcing come in? They would have threatened to suspend or exclude him from the school. That should have given him opportunity to argue on the basis of religion. He never had to shave his beard, from what I know from following the story so far. There could be other factors but i don't know.

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