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Monday, April 30, 2012

Shimla DC summons principal on turban row

A missionary school, St Edwards School, has been caught in a religious row for allegedly banning Sikh students from wearing turban during school hours.
Parents of a Class XII student, Gurleen Singh, complained to the district administration that their son was not allowed to wear turban within the school premises. Instead, the school authorities asked him to put on a patka- a small headgear. The alleged incident as per the family occurred on March 2.
Deputy Commissioner Shimla, Onkar Singh, has summoned the school principal, John Bosco, and members of Gurdwara Singh Sabha (GSS) on Saturday to sort out the issue. Besides, Singh said necessary action would be taken against any one found guilty for hurting religious sentiments of a particular community.
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal also condemned the alleged order and said no one was allowed to hurt the religious sentiments of any particular community.
He said that district administration will look into the matter. The school’s move led the parents of the Sikh students of the school to approach the district administration demanding action against school authorities.
The student’s father, Jaspal Singh, said, “My son came home crying and told us he was not allowed to wear a turban in the school.”
However, Bosco, denied the charges. He claimed that he never ordered a ban but just asked the boy to wear patka instead of turban like other Sikh school boys were doing.
“Sikh students in the school wear patka and not turban, so the boy in question was asked why he was doing so. There is no blanket ban on turban,” Bosco said.
On the first day of session the boy was asked about the turban but the matter ended on March 5. His parents came to the school on same day and the boy was later allowed to wear whatever he wished as per the religion, he said.
The principal’s clarification had, however, failed to satisfy the people of the community. The GSS of Shimla is now up in arms over the alleged ban order on turban.
The Sabha had requested Deputy Commissioner to take suitable action against the principal. Members even threatened to launch protest if such a draconian order was not “revoked.”
GSS chief Jaswinder Singh said Sikh community would not tolerate such an order by any school. It hurts the sentiments of Sikhs and would not be tolerated at any cost, he said.

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