School bans students from wearing turbans

May 31, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

The school also barred students from attending classes.

A file photo of school students wearing turbanBaramulla, May 27, 2013: A Catholic school in Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir has banned the Sikh students from wearing turbans.

A 107-year-old St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School also barred some 40 Sikh students from attending classes last week.

The School, which has about 300 Sikh students, imposed the ban saying that the turban is against the school’s uniform code.

United Sikhs, a Sikh organization, wrote to principal of the school Fr. Sebastian Nagathunkal and Rt. Rev. Peter Celestine, Bishop of Jammu-Srinagar diocese that runs the school, last week asking them to reverse the ban as it infringes the students’ right to education and religious freedom.

The Baramulla Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and parents of the students had requested the organization for assistance after the school principal refused to meet them.

The affected students, who were made to stand under the sun as punishment for wearing the turban, have been turning up at school accompanied by their parents.

“We have also written to the Education Minister of Jammu and Kashmir asking him to intervene to ensure that the ban is reversed unconditionally and without delay. There should be no reason to negotiate with parents as the school is wrong in the first place to impose the ban,” said Mejindarpal Kaur, International Legal Director of United Sikhs.

Gurpreet Singh, director of United Sikhs- India, said that they fail to understand why the wearing of turbans by Sikh students is unacceptable to the principal.

“Schools are a place of learning which requires discipline and the wearing of the turban will enhance and not hinder a Sikh student’s discipline. We hope the School will resolve the issue without delay and support the principle of “Unity in Diversity” that is being preached all over India,” he added.


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