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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Sikh body to protest turban ban at basketball federation meet in Spain

None  New Delhi, August 28, 2014
First Published: 23:41 IST(28/8/2014) | Last Updated: 23:43 IST(28/8/2014)

Members of the Kalgidhar Society will stage a protest demonstration against the international basketball federation (FIBA) at the latter’s 23rd World Congress being held at Seville (Spain) on Friday.

Drawing support from eminent former sportspersons such as Milkha Singh, Bishen Singh Bedi and several personalities from all sections of society, the Kalgidhar Society had launched an online petition on Change.org against the discriminatory action against Sikh players of the Indian basketball teams at Wuhan (China) and Doha (Qatar) recently.

Sikh players were made to remove their turbans (‘patkas’), an article of their faith, hurting their religious sensitivity and angering Indians. Launched on July 26, the petition addressed to FIBA has drawn support from more than 53,000 persons from across the globe so far.

The contents of the petition were tweeted to FIBA officials, but the basketball’s apex body did not take any decision on the highly emotive issue at its ongoing meeting in Seville.

Instead, a FIBA press release dated August 27 stated, “On the subject of a review of the basketball rules regarding headgear, because of the importance of the matter, the central board decided that it requires further analysis before a final decision is made. Both the technical and legal commissions shall study and present options to the central board.”

The new central board, which will be elected during the ongoing World Congress, will meet for the first time on September 13 in Madrid.

Kalgidhar Society’s spokesman Ravinderpal Singh Kohli said, “FIBA is unnecessarily delaying things that might create situations causing further transgression of the religious rights of Indian players. FIBA’s policies should be more sensitive to people’s faith. We are protesting at Seville on Friday.”

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