A Sikh girl was told to remove her turban by a college in Bengaluru, India, in the latest incident of discrimination against religious minorities in the country.
The college cited the interim order of the Karnataka High Court which prohibits students from “wearing saffron shawls, hijab and religious flags or the like in classrooms of colleges which have prescribed a uniform”.
In an email sent to the family, the college reportedly affirmed that they respected the students’ religious practices, but were bound by the court order to ask her to remove her turban.
“We understand that the turban is an integral part of Sikh men / women and we do respect your belief. As a [Pre-University] PU College with an uniform dress code, we have to abide by the High Court Order. We want to bring this to your notice and request you to kindly cooperate in order to maintain peace and harmony,” the email from the school stated.
In response, the girl’s father wrote an email to Jeetendra Singh, administrator of Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Ulsoor, Bengaluru, saying that removing the turban was a ‘big insult to a Sikh and the entire Sikh community.’
“We also stand by those Muslim girls/women who want to cover their head with scarf/dupatta as a part of their faith and request authorities to allow them to do so as it was already practised in our country and it does not cause any trouble to other people. The colour of the scarf and dastaar (turban) can match the uniform of the institution,” the girls’ father said.
The issue of religious garb worn students in the classroom has become a sparkplug in India, after a video went viral showing a Muslim girl in hijab being harassed by a group of boys wearing Saffron scarves as she entered her school. Many observers in both India and abroad have stated that the rule unfairly targets students from religious minorities.