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Kara keeps Sikh girl out of school

A Sikh girl in the UK is suspended for the second time after refusing to take off her kara, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2007 04:05 IST
Vijay Dutt
sardar,Sikh girl,kara

Sarika Singh, the only Sikh girl at Aberdare Girls School in Aberdare, South Wales, has been suspended for the second time, for refusing to take off her



The school said the bangle violated its code of conduct. Pupils are allowed to wear only a wristwatch and a pair of plain metal stud earrings. It added that the rules had been in place for many years and had been set up to ensure equality.

Sarika’s mother Sanita Singh, 38, has taken legal advice and plans to challenge the school’s decision. Sanita, her daughter, and a representative from the Valleys Race Equality Council, a self-styled charitable voluntary organisation, attended a meeting at the school on Tuesday with the head teacher, Jane Rosser.

Wayne Lee, a spokesman for the council, confirmed that the pupil had been excluded from school again. “Sarika is very upset and wants to go back to school. She is a good student and she wants to see her friends like any other 14-year-old.” Pending the outcome of an appeal Sarika was taken out of class and taught separately for nine weeks. She was excluded this month when she continued to ignore the ban.

Sarika said: “It is very important for me to wear the kara because it is a symbol of my faith and a constant reminder that I should only do good work, and never do anything bad, with my hands.” But the governors rejected her request to wear the bangle after examining the uniform policy and human rights legislation.

The school said it would not comment until it had told Sanita of the latest suspension in writing. Liberty, a human rights group, which is providing legal representation to Sanita, said the law lords had ruled that Sikh pupils could wear items representing their faith, including a turban.

A spokesman for the Welsh Assembly said rules on uniform were a matter for school governing bodies. The spokesman added: “Whether a school uniform policy breaches the Race Relations Act 1976 is a matter for the courts.”

First Published: Nov 15, 2007 00:13 IST