Raise headgear issue with Obama, Sukhbir Badal urges PM

Sunday, November 7, 2010

CHANDIGARH - Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal Sunday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up with visiting President Barack Obama the frisking of headgear of all turban-wearing individuals, including Sikhs, during airport checks in the US.

The US federal transportation agency recently issued directions for the mandatory searching of the headgear during airport security checks.

“Sukhbir Singh Badal has urged the prime minister to take up this matter with the US president Barack Obama. The prime minister is himself a Sikh and understands the sensitivity of this whole issue,” the state government spokesperson said.

“Wearing a turban is an integral part of the Sikh religion. Such guidelines making the frisking of turbans necessary, will interfere with Sikh principles and hurt the psyche of Sikhs. Such orders should be immediately withdrawn, the spokesman added.

Various US-based Sikh groups including United Sikhs, Sikh Coalition and Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund had also raised serious objections over the new security guidelines.

According to the fresh guidelines, regardless of whether a Sikh clears the metal detector or the advanced imaging technology test, they will still have to go through an additional process in which their turban will be checked for non-metallic items.

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