AMRITSAR: A private school run by Christian missionaries has attacked religious freedom of Sikhs in India by imposing a ban on wearing dastar (turban) and kirpan (dagger) for the Sikh students studying at the school situated in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh (UP).
This move has enraged the Sikhs across the world. Members of the Sikh community have staged a protest against the ban imposed by St Francis School.
The Sikh students were told to quit the school on failing to follow the order. The protesters reached St Francis School in Bareilly on Thursday morning and sought the removal of its principal.
Media reports quoted former president of local Model Town Gurdwara Committee Malik Singh Kalra as saying that a schoolteacher on Wednesday told students during a prayer meeting that all children should be seen in the same uniform and those who come wearing a turban, carry “kirpan” or “kada” (steel bracelet) should stop doing so from Thursday.
No student could protest in front of the teacher but in the evening informed their parents, Kalra said, adding that resentment started growing and gurdwara committees in the area announced to hold a protest on Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, the SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami took cognizance of the decision. “Despite being a minority, more than 80 per cent sacrifices were made by the Sikhs for the freedom of the country and culture of the country is intact because of Sikhs. But sadly, discrimination is being done against Sikhs in country (India)”, said Dhami.
“I appeal to Sikhs living across the country to come together and organise to firmly raise voice against people who are doing discrimination against Sikhs and urge the administration at the local level to take action”, he added.
Though the school management is claiming that the issue has been resolved, the ban has put question mark on the fate of the Sikhs in India.