A Sikh student of Indian origin, excluded from her school in Britain two months back for refusing to take off her iron bangle, has moved the High Court against the authorities’ decision.
The authorities at the Aberdare Girls’ School in South Wales had barred 14-year-old Sarika Singh from attending her classes temporarily after she declined to remove the Kara, a symbol of her religion.
The challenge at the High Court has been filed on her behalf by human rights group Liberty — it argues that the school has breached race relations and human rights laws, the media reported here today.
“My bangle is very important to me. It reminds me always to do good and not do anything bad, especially with the hands,” Sarika had said immediately after her expulsion from school in November last year.
Even her mother, Sinita Singh, had hinted that the family could seek legal recourse against the decision after she failed to convince the school’s governing body that the bracelet was a symbol of faith. “It is not jewellery — it is a symbol of our belief.”
So far, the school authorities have declined to comment on the issue. But the institution’s code of conduct prohibits wearing of any jewellery other than watches and plain ear studs.
The dispute is the latest in a series of rows over the wearing of religious symbols in schools in Britain. In 2006, Shabina Begum, a 15-year-old Muslim student of Indian origin, had lost her battle to wear a jilbab, a long gown, in class.
Earlier last year, a 12-year-old had similarly failed to gain the right to wear a full-face veil at a girl’s school in Buckinghamshire. Even in June, 16-year-old Lydia Playfoot had lost her legal battle to be allowed to wear a Christian “purity” ring as a symbol of her chastity.