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United Sikhs UNITED SIKHS Files Criminal Complaint Against Punjab Police For Removal Of Sikh's Turban:


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Petition For Protecting Religious Freedom in Panjab, India
After the Forcible Removal of a Sikh’s Turban by Officers of the Punjab Police Force

31st March 2011


Dr. Manmohan Singh, Honourable Prime Minister of India
Sardar Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister of Panjab
Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, Panjab, Department of Home Affairs and Justice
The Honorable Justice Sarosh Homi Kapadia, Chief Justice of India
The Honorable Justice Anjan Gogoi, Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court,
The Honorable Justice Konakuppakatil Gopinathan Balakrishnan, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission
Honourable Judicial Magistrates First Class, Mohali, Panjab

This petition is organized by UNITED SIKHS, a U.N. affiliated, international non-profit, non-governmental, humanitarian relief, human development and advocacy organization, aimed at empowering those in need, especially disadvantaged and minority communities across the world. (See www.unitedsikhs.org). UNITED SIKHS is registered in Panjab as a Society under the Societies Registration Act 1860.

1. UNITED SIKHS and the Global Sikh Community are joined by members of society who uphold the values of freedom of religion, thought, and belief to condemn the recent actions taken by the police force in Mohali, India, on March 28, 2011, where a young Sikh man’s turban was forcibly removed by a police officer on the orders of a senior officer. View a video of the incident at YouTube - Punjab police remove Sikh's turban

The dastaar (turban) is an article of faith that is fundamental to the Sikh identity and is worn at all times by both Sikh men and women. The forcible removal of one’s dastaar is meant to strip an individual of their dignity, privacy and religious freedom. We demand that swift and decisive action be taken to address the excessive use of force and act of religious discrimination perpetrated by the police against peaceful protestors.

2. We appeal to the Prime Minister of India to issue a public statement condemning this egregious police action and to ensure that those responsible for such actions are held accountable both on a local and national level by instituting a reform of the Punjab Police Rules to specifically require each police officer to protect and uphold religious freedom and identity. This includes investigating and charging not only the officer who forcibly removed the turban and the officer who ordered the removal of the turban, but also those responsible for creating a climate in which abuses of basic civil and human rights can take place with impunity.

3. We appeal to the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Panjab to:
a) Swiftly and effectively launch an investigation and appropriately remove from the police force, the perpetrators of this heinous act. Those who use their power to intimidate and flaunt the rule of law have no right to maintain their positions of power;
b) Reform the Punjab Police Rules so that there is a specific duty on each police officer to protect and uphold religious freedom and identity. This incident reflects an urgent need to create and enforce police policies that will prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.

4. We appeal to The Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justice of the Panjab and Haryana High Court to initiate Suo Moto actions:
a) Against the officers who are responsible for this incident, namely, the officer who forcibly removed the dastaar, and the officer who ordered the removal;
b) Against the local police force under whose authority and supervision such events are allowed to take place, so that such incidents do not recur; and
c) To reform the Punjab Police Rules so that there is a specific duty on each police officer to protect and uphold religious freedom and identity

5. We appeal to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to take Suo Moto cognizance of this incident and launch an independent investigation of this forcible turban removal and the surrounding circumstances. Upon completion of the investigation, we urge the NHRC to take appropriate action to seek justice for the aggrieved parties, hold those responsible accountable, and prevent such discriminatory government action from occurring in the future by amending the Punjab Police Rules.

6. We appeal to the Judicial Magistrates First Class, Mohali, Panjab, to register a First Information Report (FIR) against the offending officers following the filing of a complaint by UNITED SIKHS against the errant police officers.

Please sign this Petition and join us in requesting that those responsible for the forcible removal of a young Sikh man’s dastaar be held accountable for their actions, and that policies are enacted so that such incidents do not occur in the future.

See related video

YouTube - Punjab police remove Sikh's turban




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