Aditi Tandon, Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 1 The Shiromani Akali Dal today lodged a strong protest with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over a Sikh pilot having been asked to remove his turban for security reasons at the Milan airport recently.
Taking up the case of Ravijodh Singh Dhupia, commander of Jet Airways flight 9W-141 from Milan to Delhi, who was made to remove his turban by airport officials, the SAD today gave a notice for adjournment of question hour in the Lok Sabha to discuss the matter. The party shot off a letter to the PM, reminding him of his failure to convey to the Italian authorities the significance of the turban in Sikh faith.
The party’s Bathinda member Harsimrat Kaur Badal gave the notice to Speaker Meira Kumar to adjourn all proceedings “over the incident involving the Jet Airways commander, hurting his and the entire Sikh community’s sentiments and the utter failure of the government to ensure the dignity of Sikhs.”
Earlier, too, cases of Sikhs being asked to remove turbans had come to light. One such instance, which was raised in the Lok Sabha involved Amritinder Singh (coach of golfer Jeev Milkha Singh), who was also asked to remove his turban by the airport security staff at the Milan airport.
“As per the settled international law, turban can’t be removed but Italian security officials continue to do so despite repeated assurances given to us in the Parliament by the External Affairs Minister,” Harsimrat said.
Such instances were now coming to light from the US, France and Australia as well, the party added.
In her letter to the PM, Harsimrat Badal said: “We urge the government to bring to the notice of the Italian Government and other countries that turban is the most recognisable feature of a Sikh. Unlike a head covering, it is an inextricable part of the Sikh identity and is worn at all times as an essential article of the community’s faith.”