SGPC flays basketball federation as matter comes to a head again

Amritsar, Punjab: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has asked International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to let Sikh players wear ‘patka’ in international matches and not ban the headgear.

In a press release issued here on Friday, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar again criticised Fiba for not permitting India under-18 player Anmol Singh to compete in Asian Basketball Championship that was on at Doha. The player can take the court only after he takes his ‘patka’, a symbol of faith, off.

“This is a ridiculous rule, one that should be done away with immediately. How does a ‘patka’ disturb an opponent on the court,” Makkar remarked. He recalled that a month ago, at another Asian-level tournament, Indian players Amritpal Singh and Amanjyot Singh had also been prevented from playing based on the same rule that hurt the religious sentiments of the community. Makkar was hopeful that international pressures being built on Fiba would get the ban lifted.


On the decision of the provincial government of Ontario in Canada of not exempting Sikh motorcyclists from wearing helmet, Makkar demanded that it be revoked like it had been done in the Manitoba and British Columbia provinces.

“Like a helmet, the turban also protects the head in the event of road accident. It is an essential headgear and a religious symbol of the Sikhs,” Makkar added. Makkar wanted that the Indian government should take up this issue at the diplomatic level with the provincial government of Ontario.


The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Friday objected to the “forced” removal of ‘kara’ (steel or iron bangle) of a Sikh detainee by the authorities of Tihar jail in Delhi.

In a press release issued here on Friday, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said Tamil Nadu Police, in charge of the security at Tihar, had asked captive Kulwinder Singh Khanpuri to remove his symbol of faith before entering the jail. “I have come to know that when Khanpuri brought the matter to the jail authorities, they did not redress his grievance; and before he was allowed into prison, his turban was also searched,” said Makkar. “These incidents make us (Sikhs) feel like aliens in own country,” said Makkar, seeking action against jail officers.

Source: HT

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