The Hindustan Times – Is wearing a turban integral to Sikh religion, asks Supreme Court

The Supreme Court was hearing a plea by Jagdeep Singh Puri, who had challenged a local cycling association’s rules that required him to wear a helmet to participate in a competition.

Bhadra Sinha

New Delhi – India, 21 April 2018. Is wearing a turban integral to Sikh religion, asked the Supreme Court on Friday after a Delhi-based cyclist Jagdeep Singh Puri, challenged a local cycling association’s rules that required him to wear a helmet to participate in a competition.

Puri (50) moved the petition with the plea that he cannot wear a helmet because it’s mandatory for him to wear a turban as per the Sikh religion.

A bench of justices S A Bodbe and L N Rao wondered whether wearing a turban was necessary under the religion or just covering one’s head was. They referred to sportspersons from the Sikh community who didn’t wear turbans while participating in games.

“We have sympathy for the cause. But have you showed us anything that makes it mandatory under Sikh religion to wear a turban only? For example Bishen Singh Bedi played cricket while simply covering his head. He never wore a turban.
And what do soldiers do in battles? Don’t they wear helmets? You basically need to define what is a turban?,” the bench told Puri’s counsel, R S Suri.

The lawyer told the bench that the Central Motor Vehicle Act grants exemption to Sikhs from wearing helmets while driving a two-wheeler. In several foreign countries such as the UK and US, members of other communities, including Sikhs, have been permitted to wear turbans while playing sports in keeping with their religious beliefs.

But, the bench gave example of Milkha Singh. “Great sportspersons have never worn a turban. It seems to us that wearing a turban is not mandatory but covering your head is,” the bench said.

Justice Bobde said there was no harm in wearing a helmet if it was for one’s safety. “Why don’t you wear it? Why do you want to risk your head? Here you are undertaking a cycling competition. You can smash your head and then you will allege the organisers are not following safety standards,” the judge said.

Fixing April 23 to hear Puri’s petition again, the bench asked Suri to get an authority on turbans. “We want to know whether it’s essential part of your (religious) practice.” The court also asked senior advocate CU Singh to assist in the matter.

Puri, a graphic designer by profession, moved the SC after he was disqualified from the Azad Hind Brevet (long distance cycling) organized by Audax India Randonneurs (AIR), after he refused to wear to helmet since he was wearing a turban. He complained that the rule violated his fundamental right to practise and profess one’s own religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution.

The authority the Court is looking for is in the Sikh Rehat Maryada, but the Supreme Court asks the wrong question. In a liberal democracy one should not forbid what does no harm.  The right question is : Is there a good reason why he cannot wear the turban. The court could also ask whether there are turban styles that offer enough protection and the answer is: yes there are.
The Man in Blue

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/is-wearing-a-turban-integral-to-sikh-religion-asks-supreme-court/story-vN45GxHh0ffXCbMFRvEZ1I.html

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Sikh24.com – Judicial inquiry ordered into Bhai Mintu’s suspicious death in Jail; Inmates go on hunger protest

Sikh24 Editors

Patiala – Panjab – India, 21 April 2018. A judicial inquiry was ordered by the state government of Punjab on April 19 into allegedly suspicious death of political Sikh prisoner Bhai Harminder Singh Mintu on April 18 in Patiala jail.

The move came under pressure built up by the Sikh prisoners of eight jails by initiating a hunger strike in protest of depriving Bhai Mintu from basic medical facilities.

Sharing the development with Sikh24, Sikh activist Bhai Papalpreet Singh informed that the judicial panel recorded statements of Bhai Mintu’s mother Gurdev Kaur on April 19. He added that the statement of Bhai Mintu’s brother was also recorded by the judicial panel.

Bhai Papalpreet Singh further informed Bhai Mintu’s mother Gurdev Kaur has informed that she met Bhai Mintu in a Court appearance in Ludhiana about two weeks ago. “Mata Gurdev Kaur has told the Commission that her son, Harminder Singh Mintu, had apprised her about Patiala jail authorities biased behavior towards him in depriving basic medical facilities,” he added.

Meanwhile, Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur has said that Bhai Harminder Singh Mintu has been killed under state conspiracy. He has said that jail warden’s ignorance towards Jail doctor’s recommendation to get Bhai Mintu examined from PGI, Chandigarh tells a lot about state conspiracy to kill Bhai Mintu.

http://www.sikh24.com/2018/04/21/judicial-inquiry-ordered-into-bhai-mintus-suspicious-death-in-jail-inmates-go-on-hunger-protest/#.WttfWJe-nIU

Hoepertingen : Mariagaarde – Sint-Vedastuskerk – Gurdwara

Hoepertingen
23 February 2018


Entrance to Mariagaarde


Sint-Vedastuskerk


Gurdwara – Divan Hall
The light representing God’s light present in all


Gurdwara – Divan Hall
Traditional ghee light


Guru Granth Sahib (holy book) on its throne
God’s light is present in the Guru Granth

Guru Ram Dass Sikh Study & Cultural Centre
Smisstraat 8
Hoepertingen
B-3840 Borgloon

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

New Jersey.com – I’m a Sikh, a Jerseyan and a target of bias. Let’s get to know each other

Rucha Kaur

Op/Ed, 21 April 2018. Last month, the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly passed a joint resolution designating April as “Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month,” making it one of just a few states in the country to ever take this step.

The joint resolution comes on the heels of several firsts for Sikhs in the state: In 2009, New Jersey became the first state to adopt a statewide curriculum standard that includes Sikhism.

In November 2017, Hoboken elected the first-ever turbaned Sikh mayor of a major city, Ravi Singh Bhalla. Early this year, Governer Phil Murphy appointed Gurbir Singh Grewal as the first-ever Sikh attorney general in USA history.

At a time when the national political rhetoric is divisive and some elected officials choose to attack minorities, it is deeply meaningful to see local political leaders lift up Sikh Americans and their contributions. The joint resolution, which was passed unanimously, is a welcome beacon of hope in a climate rife with xenophobia and racism.

For many years, Sikhs have consistently been targets of hate and violence, and have continued to experience discrimination in schools, workplaces and airports. According to the Sikh Coalition, Sikhs in the USA are experiencing an average of at least one hate crime per week since the start of 2018.

Despite the gains made by Sikhs in New Jersey and the diverse communities that live here, there is still a lot of work to be done. Last November, Bhalla’s election campaign was targeted by racist fliers, and in February, Bhalla opened up about death threats against him and his family.

The distribution of racist fliers in our state in recent weeks is yet another reminder that we need to continue working together to combat hate.

Other Asian American candidates in Edison, also saw racist fliers targeting their campaigns during the November elections. And just last month, a Sikh gas station attendant in Parsippany reported that he was called a terrorist and told to “Go home!”

We are home

However, for Sikh families nationwide, these stories of discrimination are not unique. I have personally seen the subtle, distrustful glances people give my husband, a turban-wearing Sikh.

I have also witnessed people confront him out of prejudice. In 2013, a stranger accosted him in our South Jersey apartment parking lot to question his citizenship status, just a few feet away from our front door.

Sikhs first came to the United States over 100 years ago, and we are the fifth largest religious group in the world. Our faith teaches us to treat everyone equally and to serve our communities wholeheartedly. We are your gas station attendants, soldiers, students, and now your elected officials.

Now that we are in New Jersey’s first-ever Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month, we have one request of our neighbors: Please get to know us.

You are all invited to our gurdwaras (places of worship), of which we have several around the state. You are also invited to our monthly seva (selfless service) projects that feed those in need in Camden, Trenton, and Jersey City. These meals follow the Sikh tradition of langar (free community kitchen).

Finally, there is the Sikh Day Parade in the heart of New York City on April 28. Thousands of Sikhs gather in Manhattan to celebrate our tradition and be with community. We march down Fifth Avenue, serve one another langar and eat together in Madison Square Park.

We would love for you to attend this joyous celebration with your friends and family.

At the end of the day, this is what we really need in New Jersey: more awareness and understanding. Yes, we have made major strides together, from political leadership to school education standards, but we clearly still have a long ways to go.

The first step is a willingness to participate, but once you do we will build a more tolerant and inclusive New Jersey for all of us.

Rucha Kaur is a practicing Sikh and a New Jersey resident. She is the community development director at the Sikh Coalition, where she works on building and empowering a national network of grassroots leaders to promote interfaith solidarity, defend civil rights and raise Sikh awareness.

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/04/sikh_awareness_and_appreciation_month.html

The Hindu – Yashwant Sinha quits BJP

Not going to join any other political party, the former Union Minister said.

Amarnath Tewary

Patna – Bihar – India, 21 April 2018. Former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha broke all ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday. He announced, “I’m breaking all my relations with BJP now and I’ll not take any position in the future.”

“I’m not going to join any other political party. I’ll set off a strong movement with all my friends and like-minded people in the country to save democracy. Media too is being suppressed, under pressure, managed from above. How will the country run in such a situation? My heart beats for the country,” he said.

Mr Sinha also slammed the present government for influencing the election commission and investigative agencies in the country, at the first convention of his newly floated Rashtriya Manch (National Forum).

Democracy in the country is in danger, he said, while addressing the gathering. He added that his “heart beats for the country.”

Disgruntled BJP leader and party MP from Patna Sahib, Shatrughan Sinha, AAP leaders Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh, RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav, RLD leader Jayant Chaudhury and others were also present at the convention.

The convention of Rashtriya Manch was held at Sri Krishna Memorial Hall at Patna. Rashtriya Manch is not a political platform, clarified Mr Sinha.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/yashwant-sinha-quits-bjp/article23626389.ece