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Blow to Sikhs: European Court upholds turban ban
In an unprecedented judgment European Court of Human Rights has justified the ban imposed by French Government to bear turbans in Schools; the controversial judgment was delivered on Thursday
IN AN unprecedented judgment, European Court of Human Rights has justified the ban imposed by French Government to bear turbans in schools; the controversial judgment was delivered on Thursday (June 16).   

The verdict had left Sikh community across the world high and dry; they were anticipating judgment against the ban. French government had passed a law in the year 2004, banning the use of religious symbols namely turban in the educational institutes including schools. Even that time the issue had rocked French as well as Indian Parliament. In India, Parliament members cutting across party lines showed their anger against the controversial verdict.  

The judgment concerning banning of Turban in educational institutes in France was challenged by a Sikh named Jasbir Singh in the European Court. It was being fought by a Non Governmental Organisation-United Sikhs on behalf of Jasbir Singh. 

The verdict has no legal binding on French Government as it doesn’t require government to place its argument or response to Jasbir’s lawyer’s legal petition and diverse arguments related to it.   

According to Sikh scholars, wearing turban is an integral part of Sikh culture and rituals. Sikh community across the world adheres to it in letter and spirit. They further said that there is no point in asking a Sikh not to wear a turban. 

Even our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had raised the contentious issue during his recent visit to France with French President-Nicolas Sarkozy. But it had not turned the tide in the favor of Sikh Community.  

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Ramesh Manghirmalani
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