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World PM May Bring Up Ban On Turbans With Sarkozy


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
NEW DELHI: As French President Nicolas Sarkozy landed in Delhi on Sunday, government sources indicated that the contentious issue of Sikh turbans in France would again be taken up with the French side. The government is expected to politely convey to Sarkozy how strongly India feels about the issue when he holds delegation-level talks with PM Manmohan Singh on Monday.

Sarkozy had an informal meeting over dinner with Singh after landing in Delhi from Agra on Sunday evening. In the past too, Singh has taken up the issue with Sarkozy and while the president has displayed understanding of the situation, Sikh groups continue to believe they are being discriminated against by the French government. Currently, it is difficult for a Sikh to acquire any identification-related document if he doesn't get himself photographed without removing his turban.

In his September 2008 summit talks in Paris, Singh had emphasized to Sarkozy that the turban was "a very essential part of the Sikh way of life". Sarkozy had then said that he had an "open mind" on the issue. Again in July 2009, after the French National Day celebrations, Singh had handed over a "non-official" document to Sarkozy on how to handle the problem. Sarkozy had then assured that there was no ban in France on Sikhs wearing turban.

However, there was more trouble early this year when France made it mandatory for its citizens to remain "bare-headed" in photographs meant for identity related documents. Minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur had then taken up the issue and conveyed to Paris that if Sikhs were photographed without turbans, it would create a faulty database because they wear turbans all the time. She had expressed hope that the matter would be resolved soon.

Sikh groups all over the world have urged Singh to again take up the issue. In fact, Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal wrote to the PM a few days ago asking him to take up "such discriminatory rules" which are being implemented in France.

Apart from holding talks with Singh, Sarkozy will have a meeting with President Pratibha Patil on Monday evening. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will also call on Sarkozy.

While Sarkozy has emphatically reiterated France's support for India's UNSC permanent membership bid, and also announced that Paris will back India's entry into NSG, no big defence deal is expected to be signed during the visit. The Mirage-2000 upgradation deal has got delayed and even the framework agreement for supply of two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) has not been finalised yet. Foreign ministry officials had said last week that the agreement for EPRs may or may not be signed during this visit.

Read more: PM may bring up ban on turbans with Sarkozy - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...Sarkozy/articleshow/7050051.cms#ixzz17HB6YdRM


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Aug 17, 2010
World citizen!
It's about time something was said! Here is action being taken, co-ordinated by United Sikhs.

Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité: Act On it. Sikhs Urge Visiting French Prime Minister Sarkozy in India by Protesting at Teen Murty Chowk in New Delhi


  • Sikhs protest at Teen Murty Chowk in New Delhi (India) demanding that Sarkozy lift the ban on turban in France
  • Members of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC), UNITED SIKHS, All India Sikh Confederation, All Shiromani Akali Dals, and many other Sikh organizations participate in the demonstration. A memorandum addressed to the President, N Sarkozy, will be submitted to the French Ambassador in New Delhi
New Delhi, India: As India welcomes President Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni on their visit to the country on December 6 and 7, 2010, the Sikh community demonstrates at teen Murti Chowk in Delhi to draw attention to the justified demands of Sikhs in France to practice their religion. The French law that came into effect in September 2004, bans wearing paktas and turbans for the 12,000 minority Sikh community in France. It is a denial of basic human rights of Sikhs- right to an education, engagement in civil duties, employment or basically the opportunity to live as a Sikh in France.

As the chronology of events indicates, repeated representations by the Indian Government and Sikh bodies across the world have yet to get any positive response from the French Government. India and France have a strategic partnership forged in 1998 that details broad-based relations between the two countries that includes among other things, education and culture. Sikhs are an integral and very prominent part of the mosaic that Indian culture is all about. In French denial of the Sikh identity, the Sikhs see a breach of the bilateral partnership.

President of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Paramjit Singh Sarna, said, "Sarkozy in 2008 promised us to lift all bans on dastaars (Turbans) and allow Sikhs to wear turban in French schools. He has not kept his promise so far. DSGMC along with all other Sikh organizations request President Sarkozy to keep his promise."

Daljeet Singh, President of Dharam Prachar Committee of DSGMC stated that, "We will pursue the issue on every platform till justice is done."

Legal Director of UNITED SIKHS, Jaspreet Singh, said, "The Sikhs would like France to demonstrate the principles of Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality in action. The French president cast himself as a modernizer when he came to power in May 2007. He pledged to promote new initiatives and fight intolerance, including racism. Sikhs across the world would like to ask Mr. Sarkozy if banning the right to practice one’s faith is not racism?"

Kuldip Singh, President, UNITED SIKHS, said, "Mr. Sarkozy is pushing for French companies to win contracts to supply military hardware and build Nuclear plants in India worth Billions of Dollars. A disproportinately large number of Sikhs serve the Indian Army, as they also dutifully laid down their lives for France in world war I – how about a deal to respect their identity, Mr. Singh and Mr. Sarkozy?"​
"Under the ICCPR, France may restrict these fundamental rights on only the most compelling grounds, and may do so only so far as absolutely necessary. We submit that France has not made out a compelling case for denying a Sikh the right to wear a turban,” said Mejindarpal Kaur, UNITED SIKHS legal director.

UNITED SIKHS lawyers filed a legal challenge before the United Nations on 15th December 2008 and are waiting on the results.

To see a previous press release on Right to Turban Campaign see please click here.

More information about the campaign is available here: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/rtt/
Nov 14, 2010
I am so glad that people are protesting this move on the part of the French government. What happened to the Liberté in "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité"?

As a libertarian, I find it offensive that any Sikh who wishes to wear a turban or other head covering would be told they cannot. What next? Will baseball players be told they cannot wear ball caps? (There are sports fanatics out there every bit as devout as religious fanatics...)

This is what happens when well-meaning state security and social welfare initiatives begin to experience "mission creep." They begin to intrude into our lives in ways that invade our privacy. I realize that, as an American, I probably have a stronger cultural preference for both elbow room and personal privacy, but telling people that they cannot wear a turban or a yarmulke is taking it way too far, I don't care what country is doing it.

I was very happy to see that the state of Oregon finally repealed its ban on public school teachers wearing articles of faith on the job, thus negating the possibility that anyone wearing a turban could become a teacher in that state.

I love that the US Constitution bestows these basic rights and liberties on us and protects us from having them unfairly taken away by anyone else.



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