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EU promises help in taking up turban ban with France

Source: PTI
April 22, 2006 02:36 IST
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A visiting European Union team Friday promised the Sikh community that it would try to impress upon France the "cultural" sentiments attached with the turban and ask them to lift the ban on wearing it in schools.

A nine-member Parliamentary delegation led by Ludhiana-born EU legislator Neena Gill had met community leaders in Amritsar earlier and had conveyed that they would try to arrange a meeting of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee chairman with the French ministers.

"We understand why Sikhs feel strongly about the ban on the turban in France. We promised the Prabhandak committee that we will assist them to tackle the issue," Gill told reporters in New Delhi after returning from their visit from Punjab.

Gill said the delegation would try to raise the issue in the EU Chamber while adopting other strategy to help French authorities understand that the "for Sikhs, turban is more cultural than religious".

Another legislator Jim Nicholson said they believed that "France will listen to common sense" even though EU cannot dictate terms to that country.

France has banned students wearing symbols of religion including hijabs, turbans anbd kirpans in educational institutions and has barred some students from attending classes as they refused to oblige by the French directive.

She said disallowing students from attending clases was violative of their right to education.

"We will try to impress upon them that there is a need for flexibility from France on the issue," Gill, who belongs to Britain's Labour Party, said.

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