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Sikh girl seeks discrimination ruling over Kara

Sarika Singh, 14, is barred from Aberdare Girls' School in south Wales after refusing to remove the steel bangle, known as a Kara.
By HT Correspondent | AFP, London
UPDATED ON JUN 17, 2008 05:50 PM IST

Lawyers for a Sikh teenager banned from school for wearing a religious bracelet in Britain went to court on Tuesday claiming unlawful discrimination.

Sarika Singh, 14, was barred from Aberdare Girls' School in south Wales after refusing to remove the steel bangle, known as a Kara, on the basis that it did not allow jewellery other than wristwatches and plain ear studs.

After she was excluded in November she moved to another school in the area which does allow her to wear the bracelet but her family claims she suffered academically because of the move.

The family, including her mother Sinita, 38, handed in a petition at Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Downing Street residence last week, urging him to intervene to show that "discrimination is totally unacceptable".

The petition was backed by 150 Gurdwaras -- Sikh religious institutions -- as well as more than 200 Sikh organisations and 70 non-Sikh bodies.

Human rights group Liberty, which is backing the family in seeking a High Court ruling, said the school breached race, equality and human rights laws by not allowing Sarika to wear the Kara.

"Sarika Singh has suffered humiliating isolation and is being denied a proper education simply because she wears the Kara," said Anna Fairclough, representing the Singhs on behalf of Liberty, earlier in the case.

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