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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

BJP's SS Ahluwalia demands PM's intervention in London turban row

ANI  New Delhi , August 18, 2013
First Published: 20:44 IST(18/8/2013) | Last Updated: 20:49 IST(18/8/2013)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Vice President SS Ahluwalia Sunday sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's immediate intervention in the row over Sikhs wearing turbans in the United Kingdom.

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"Recently, whatever has happened, is very unfortunate. That the Prime Minister of India is a turbaned man and is unable to project the wearing of turbans world wide is also unfortunate. I demand that the Prime Minister should intervene in this matter and that he should talk to the British Government to give due recognition to the turban," Ahluwalia said.

Ahluwalia also expressed his agony over the Sikh turban being compared to the headgear worn by Afghans, and reiterated that Sikhs are Indians.

" The turban issue is being raised time and again in Europe and they want to compare the turban of Punjab to that of Afghanistan. But we are not Afghans and, we have seen after 9/11, there was lot of problem in America also. They treated Sikhs as Afghanis. But we are not, we are Sikhs, we are Indians," said Ahluwalia.

According to reports, a teen British girl was arrested recently for assaulting an 80-year-old Sikh man. A video of the incident went viral on the web, and grabbed attention as well as condemnation.

The video shows the elderly victim being punched in the face and pushed to the ground. His turban had fallen off and he had been left with a bloodied nose and a black eye.

The 19-year-old girl abused the Sikh man and spat on him before walking off. The attack, allegedly unprovoked, occurred near a bus station in Coventry's Trinity Street at 8.30 p.m. local time on August 10.

Four days before the incident in the UK, on August 6, Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) President Manjit Singh GK and other delegation members were told to remove their turbans during a security check at Rome Airport.

However, he, along with other members of the DSGMC delegation, refused to do so and decided not to board their Dubai-bound Emirates flight.

Ironically, the delegation was returning after attending a turban awareness day event organised by a Europe-based TV channel and felt the removal of the turban, in the name of security check, in foreign countries is a direct assault on Sikh identity.

Previously, President of Indian overseas Congress, Karamjit Singh Dhillon along with 10 other Sikhs were forced to remove turbans at Rome Airport in February 2011 and also Amritinder Singh coach of golfer Jeev Milkha Singh was also forced to remove turban twice within a span of eight days - May 15, 2011 and May 23, 2011-- at Milan airport.

Following protests, the Italian government had declared that Sikhs will not have to remove their turbans at airports for security screening.

 

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