Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar has described as “unfortunate” the reports of baptised Sikh students were not being allowed entry into examination centres of All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) on Saturday.
In a statement issued here on Sunday, Makkar described the reports as “disturbing” and “against the principles of secularism” that the country adheres to. In this context, he referred to two incidents that occurred in Bathinda and in Jaipur.
In Bathinda, two boys were asked to remove their ‘kirpans’ and ‘karas’ outside a examination centre, which they refused to do on the grounds that these were important articles of their faith and hence were sacred to them. After a heated argument with the authorities they were allowed to enter the examination centre, while a girl student had to remove her ‘kirpan’ and ‘kara’ before proceeding to take her AIPMT exam.
Makkar also referred to Jaipur incident, where a student had to take off his ‘kirpan’ and ‘kara’ as the authorities refused to allow him entry into the examination centre. “These incidents have deeply hurt the religious sentiments of the Sikhs,” he added.
Makkar also demanded an inquiry into the two incidents and advised the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) not to frame such rules in the future.
He also called upon the Punjab government to immediately issue directions to the universities and the education boards not to frame such rules.
TURBAN BAN: SGPC MEMBER MEETS FRENCH MINISTER
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member Kiranjyot Kaur met French minister on religious affairs Jean Cristoff and discussed the turban issue with him.
In a release issued by the SGPC authorities, Kiranjyot met the minister on the sidelines of a United Nation-sponsored conference on global warming and climate change in Paris on July 21. She had gone there as a representative of the SGPC.
The conference was attended by around 195 nations and several organisations. Kiranjyot reportedly explained to the minister the importance of the turban and the ‘kirpan’ and other articles of faith and their importance in the Sikh religion.
She explained to him the need for lifting the ban imposed on Sikh students wearing their head gear (turban or ‘patka’) to school. The ban on all religious head gears, including the turban, was imposed a decade back, and since then the SGPC has been urging France to lift it.
“The minister gave a patient hearing and agreed that the issue needed to be discussed further for finding an acceptable solution,” the release stated, while quoting the SGPC member.