India on Thursday summoned the Italian envoy to New Delhi and took up the row over a Sikh delegation being asked to remove their turbans, during security checks at the Rome international airport.
Italian ambassador to India Daniele Mancini was called to the external affairs ministry over the incident, which took place on Tuesday, and had earlier been taken up by Indian embassy in Rome.
Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee chief Manjit Singh had alleged that he and members of his delegation were asked to remove their turban during frisking at the Rome International airport.
“The ambassador indicated that there is a large Sikh population in Italy the authorities are sensitive to the concerns of the Sikh community on such matters. He also mentioned of the strict guidelines that have been issued for officials to follow in such matters”, sources said.
The envoy also assured that he would once again convey the sensitivity of the issue to the Italian authorities. The Sikh delegation was finally allowed to go without removing their turbans.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal called it a "direct assault" on Sikh identity.
According to Punjab's ruling Akali Dal, this was the third such incident at the Italian airport in the past year. Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal said he had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and external affairs minister Salman Khurshid, urging them to take up the "insult" to Sikhs in Italy.