M A I N   N E W S

Turban issue almost solved, says French envoy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 16
The turban issue, has been solved amicably with all Sikh students, except three, returning to their schools, claimed the French Ambassador to India, Dominique Girard.

“Only three cases remain pending today and dialogue is being pursued with the three students concerned,” he said in a communication to the National Commission for Minorities.

The French Ambassador wrote that “Whatever form the outcome of this dialogue may take, you can be assured that those students will be offered solutions to continue their studies within the French educational system, which offers a host of different options. In no circumstances will Sikh students be prevented by the French authorities to carry on their education.”

Mr Girard said, “At the beginning of the school year, the vast majority of the Sikh students were back to school without any difficulty. Specific solutions were discussed and agreed upon with a few other students in accordance with the law as well as those children’s own request.”

NCM Chairman Tarlochan Singh, who had been pursuing the matter with the French authorities, including the Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, expressed satisfaction with the amicable resolution of the issue.

Mr Girard said there was a lot of misinformation in India about the ban, as this was only meant to ensure that French schools imparted knowledge without consideration of race, religion or nationality.

Head scarf issue began in 1989 when a principal in secondary school in Creil forbade three Muslim women students from attending classes because they refused to remove their head scarves. The headmaster cited a 1937 French law prohibiting religious symbols in school.


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