Historical First Meeting with French Home Minister on Sikhs Issues

 Paris, France: For the First time, French Home Minister, Manuel VALLS received the French Sikh Delegation.

At Place Beauvau, the Conseil Représenatif des Sikhs de France (CRSF) was invited to share and explain the French Sikhs Issues with the Minister Manuel VALLS, who is also in charge of Religion and Laïcité.

The French direction@sikhsdefrance.fr <direction@sikhsdefrance.fr>was lead by M. Ranjit G. SINGH, Director of Public Affairs of CRSF, with senior Sikh leader, S. Chain Singh SAD (A), S. Dalvinder Singh Ghuman, S. Raghbir Singh Kohar, S. Parmjit Singh Sohal, S. Sukhdev Singh Kassochahal.

The French Sikh Delegation expressed his view on the issues of (1) Dastaar on French ID Card, (2) Dastaar in Public School, (3) Implementation of Sikh Chaplain, (4) Regulation of Border Police Profiling Sikhs, (5) Sikh Awareness on National TV and (6) preparation of 100th Anniversary of Arriving of Sikhs Indian Soldiers for the First World War.

On the Dastaar French ID Card, the Home Minister told them there is already a precedent with the Conseil d’Etat, the Highest Administrative Jurisdiction, which has imposed standards related to photography on Identity document. But he understood the difficulty for both Sikhs, in terms of dignity and respect for its identity, and the Official to identify the person without his turban. The subject is still kept on the table for futures meetings.

On the Dastaar in Public School, the Home Minister emphasized the importance of Laïcité (French secularism) in the French Republic, and that the law of 15 march 2004 banning religious signs in Public School was voted by the French Parliament. He recalled that the French Sikh community has found a reasonable accommodation by allowing Sikh Children to wear Rumal in Public School. The French Sikh Delegation pointed out that there is still some public school which are abusing the application of this law by advising Sikhs parents to cut the hair of their children or to come in School without their Rumal (or even not tying a Jura!). The Home Minister told he would
report this issues with Education Ministry. Also, the French Sikh Delegation reaffirmed his position against this law, which annihilating religious and cultural diversity in Public School.

Manuel Valls also remind that the French President, François Hollande, asked him about the situation of French Sikh, after the visit in India this last February, where the Prime Minister Dr. Mammohan Singh and also the
Minister of State for External Affairs Mrs. Preneet Kaur questioned the French Delegation on the situation of Sikhs living in France.

In order to help and raise awareness of Sikhism in France, the Home Minister ensure that he will work and participate in future programs organize by the Conseil Représentatif des Sikhs de France. It is expected to see the
Home Minister at the Sikh Book Fair in Paris, coming in November 2013.

Source: Direction@SikhsDefrance.FR 

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