FRENCH CLARIFY – NO BAN ON SIKH TURBANS IN PUBLIC SPACES

NEW DELHI (TIP): French embassy in Delhi has said there was no ban on wearing turbans in public space while reacting to a charge by a Sikh organization that the community has been fighting for their rights in France.

“Outside the premises of public schools, wearing the Sikh turban is very much allowed in public space, contrary to the allegations of certain radical organizations. Only the burkha is banned in public places, for obvious security reasons.”

“Furthermore, neither Sikhs wearing turbans in the streets nor Sikh shrines were ever subject to any hostility in France,” embassy said in a statement in Delhi.

It also noted that the embassy issued this clarification following recent allegations regarding the so-called restrictions imposed on the wearing of the Sikh turban in France.

“France upholds the freedom of religion, as well as the right not to have one, and opposes discriminations on this ground. There is no ban on the wearing of turbans. French law in this matter is very precise: the restriction applies to the wearing of all visible religious signs, without any discrimination, and it applies only to public schools.

“It leaves it to the heads of public schools to take the most appropriate measures, so that it is implemented in a sensitive manner,” the statement added.

This measure has been explained to the Indian authorities and representatives of the Sikh community in France, with whom a regular dialogue has been established, the embassy said.

The Sikhs of France understand and have assimilated the laws on Laicite (French principle of separation between the State and religious institutions) and practical solutions have been found to reconcile their religious practice with the principles of the French Republic, it added.

Protesting against the absence of a Sikh regiment contingent at the Republic Day parade where French President Francois Hollande was the chief guest, Shiromani Akali Dal yesterday said it was a setback to the struggle of Sikhs who have been fighting for their rights in France.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.

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