Govt Trying to Solve Turban Check for Sikhs Abroad

New Delhi
Govt Trying to Solve Turban Check for Sikhs Abroad
Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur has said government was trying to solve the problems of Sikh travellers who face turban checks at foreign airports and dismissed the opposition allegation about government inaction as "politically motivated."

"The issue of screening of turban at airports has been taken up bilaterally by the Ministry of External Affairs with Italy, France, Poland, Romania and the European Union which have significant number of people following Sikh religion residing in the country or travelling into the country," a press release issued by Kaur said.

The issue had also been raised by Kaur during her visit to Italy in July 2011 and before that by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, the release said.

"The Italian Foreign Minister had agreed to the point raised by the Minister of External Affairs that if Sikhs have to be screened thoroughly, removing the turban should be done in private and with proper facilities to allow them to rearrange the turban after the check," the release said.

Italy had responded to Preneet Kaur, outlining measures being taken by the authorities which include sensitising border officials and compiling a set of recommendations for Sikh travellers to and from Italy, the release added.

The government of India has also been in touch with the French government, at the highest level, on the issue, Kaur said.

"None other than the Prime Minister of India has raised the issue with President Nicolas Sarkozy way back in 2008. Thereafter, there have been several interactions with the French on this issue," the release said.

The statement also said Kaur had taken up the matter with the Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk, during his visit to India in September 2010.

After that, Tusk had ordered stopping of intensive screening by removal of turban at their airports.

Kaur said the allegations made by her opponents about government's inaction on the issue were "politically motivated just to mislead the people in view of coming Punjab assembly elections".
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