The ministry of external affairs on Wednesday summoned Italian ambassador to India Giacomo Sanfelice Di Monteforte over golf coach Amritinder Singh being told to take off his turban at a Milan airport during a security check.
This happened within hours of the Opposition members registering their protests over the incident and external affairs minister SM Krishna terming the incident as an insult to the nation.
This is the second time Amritinder, coach of golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, was forced to remove the turban at Milan airport. A few weeks back, he was asked to take off the turban and put it in a tray where shoes were screened
The envoy, who was summoned by Vivek Katju, secretary east in the MEA, regretted the incident again and said security guidelines have to be implemented “keeping religious sentiments in mind.”
Assuring the Rajya Sabha that the issue would be taken up with Italy, Krishna said, “Whenever there is an insult to Sikhs, we take it as national insult. We take it up in that spirit.”
He was responding to senior BJP leader SS Ahluwalia who said during Zero Hour that the Indian government was not able to convince Italy that turban was a symbol of religious respect for Sikhs.
Ahluwalia said the turban is “Guru’s blessings” and “we cannot tolerate insult” to it in a country where the Prime Minister is a Sikh.
The BJP leader had demanded that the Italian envoy be summoned to the external affairs Ministry.
India had on Tuesday decided to move a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly stating that the turban was a symbol of Indian religious sentiments and has to be respected by all.