Catholic School imposes ‘no turban rule’ on Sikh students

Baramulla: It’s bizarre. A Catholic school in Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir has banned the Sikh students from wearing turbans. Local Christians think it’s a daft and prejudiced move. The Bishop apparently backs the school.

A 107-year-old St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School also barred some 40 Sikh students from attending classes last week.

The School, which has about 300 Sikh students, imposed the ban saying that the turban is against the school’s ‘uniform code’. The Principal refused to respond to the parents’ request for a dialogue on the subject.

United Sikhs, a Sikh organization, wrote to principal of the school Fr. Sebastian Nagathunkal and Rt. Rev. Peter Celestine, Bishop of Jammu-Srinagar diocese that runs the school, last week asking them to reverse the ban as it infringes the students’ right to education and religious freedom.

The Baramulla Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and parents of the students had requested the organization for assistance after the school principal refused to meet them.

The affected students, who were made to stand under the sun as punishment for wearing the turban, have been turning up at school accompanied by their parents.

“We have also written to the Education Minister of Jammu and Kashmir asking him to intervene to ensure that the ban is reversed unconditionally and without delay. There should be no reason to negotiate with parents as the school is wrong in the first place to impose the ban,” said Mejindarpal Kaur, International Legal Director of United Sikhs.

Gurpreet Singh, director of United Sikhs- India, said that they fail to understand why the wearing of turbans by Sikh students is unacceptable to the principal.

“Schools are a place of learning which requires discipline and the wearing of the turban will enhance and not hinder a Sikh student’s discipline. We hope the School will resolve the issue without delay and support the principle of “Unity in Diversity” that is being preached all over India,” he added.

Observers say that the issue has now become more of an ego-clash than anything else.

Christian values are those of peace, harmony, and tolerance, and such a thing has never happened before in India, say members of the Catholic Community who evidently do not support the Bishop’s backing of the school principal.

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Posted by on June 1, 2013. Filed under Breaking News,Kashmir. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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