Chandigarh: Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Manjit Singh GK, along with a delegation accompanying him to Italy, boarded a plane to Dubai on early Thursday morning.
GK, along with the delegation, was returning after attending a dastar (turban) awareness day in Cremona city of Italy when they were stopped at the Rome airport on Tuesday night for a security check and were asked to remove the turbans, to which they refused.
After waiting at the airport for almost 24 hours, the DSGMC delegation was allowed to leave the airport without their having to remove the turbans. “We were simply made to pass through a metal detector,” GK told HT on the phone from Dubai, adding that a protocol officer from the Indian high commission in Italy came to the airport and arranged their graceful exit.
According to GK, the chief of security at the airport also apologised to them for the inconvenience.
Union minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur had taken up the matter with India’s high commission in Italy.
Other than GK, DSGMC’s dharma parchar committee chairman Paramjit Singh Rana, and members Gurvinder Singh, Inderjeet Singh Gulati and Gurbachan Singh Cheema, along with another invitee Puneet Singh Chandok, comprised the delegation. After attending a religious function in Dubai, the delegation is expected to return to Delhi on Saturday.
Commenting on the incident, GK said there had been many incidents at the airports in Italy when Sikhs were forced to remove the turbans. “I have travelled to a number of countries but have never been given such a treatment,” said GK, adding that there was need to create awareness about turban, that it is an integral part of a Sikh. The airport authorities thought turbans to be hats, due to lack of awareness.
“I am not against a thorough check in case there is a suspicion, but all Sikhs wearing turbans can’t be told to remove them,” said GK.
TO HOLD SEMINAR
DSGMC general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa on Thursday said the gurdwara committee would invite the officials of all embassies and high commissions in Delhi and organise a seminar to make them aware of Sikh culture and the importance of a turban for a Sikh.
He alleged that the Centre had never taken up the issue with various countries despite the fact that Sikhs were often harassed at airports. Sirsa asked the Centre to take up the issue with the United Nations
Source: The Tribune