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France misled India on turban issue: DSGMC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 9
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, which has decided to move the European Court of Human Rights against the French law banning wearing of turban by Sikhs in government institutions, today accused Paris of having mislead the Indian Government on the issue.

DSGMC President Prahalad Singh Chandhok told a news conference here that the turban issue was still alive and the issue had not been resolved.

Asked specifically about the statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Mumbai, Mr Chandhok claimed that France had misled the Indian Government.

Dr Manmohan Singh had stated that the issue had been resolved as Sikh leaders in France had reached an agreement for a particular type of headgear in place of turban.

Mr K.T.S. Tulsi, a former Additional Solicitor-General of India, engaged by the DSGMC for the case, said the turban issue was still a burning issue and more than 100 Sikh students were sitting in dharna outside government schools there.

“These children have been told to shift to private schools, where they can wear turban. But private schools are beyond the reach of many of them,” Mr Tulsi said, adding that he would fight the case free of cost as a service to the community.

Mr Chandhok said leaders of the DSGMC would meet the Prime Minister soon to discuss the issue to know the kind of assurance given by the French authorities.

Reacting to reports about the DSGMC’s decision to move the European Court, SGPC member Harinder Pal Singh said it was a hasty step as the issue had to be tackled diplomatically.

Launching a legal battle against a sovereign state could harm the interests of the community, he said.

The SGPC member pointed out to the issue of kirpan and turban raked up in the USA and other countries where the community exerted pressure on the Indian Government to take up the issue diplomatically and New Delhi was able to convince those nations, which enabled the Sikhs to practise their religion without any hurdle.

Asked about the authority of the European Court, Mr Tulsi said it had persuasive powers and widespread influence in the European Union.


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