The Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has urged the Supreme Court to include “racial slurs” and “racial profiling” in the definition of ragging that is banned in educational institutions. This, the SGPC said, would prevent victimization of Sikh students who are often ridiculed for being a Sardar.
SGPC’s request is part of the suggestions it submitted to the top court on Tuesday to stop the circulation of Sardar jokes and “vilification” of the community.
“Curbing of such acts (racial slur) at the educational level, would serve to bolster the pride and self-esteem of youngsters belonging to the Sardar community, and preserve the Sikh identity,” the suggestions stated. To save themselves from objectification and under peer pressure, Sikh boys were getting a haircut, which ultimately results in loss of identity of the religion in the country of its origin.
The committee said the ministry of information and broadcasting should lay down guidelines for the media, film and television industry to refrain from projecting Sikhs as comic relief or typecast them to “project them as fools and imbeciles, lacking wit and intelligence”.
Circulation of jokes such as “Santa-Banta” and “12 o’clock” jokes on the social media should be subjected to scrutiny, it said. Humour that could hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community or have the ability to depict them in poor light should be banned and filtered.
SGPC called for an overhaul in school curriculum so that the students are sensitised towards the ill-impact and damage caused to the self-esteem of an individual through racial profile and slurs. “Respect and tolerance must be instilled in every citizen of this country, considering the vast diversity of religions, cultures, languages which make up the rich heritage of India,” the SGPC said.
SGPC also asked the SC to direct state governments to constitute committees at the district level to take cognizance of complaints filed on comments and gestures. The committee could be headed by either a district magistrate or retired additional and sessions judge.
A retired high court judge should head the state-level panel. It should have the power to summon the alleged aggressor and direct him or her to tender unconditional apology. In case of non-compliance, the panel should be at liberty to impose a fine on the alleged offender, SGPC said.