French Turban Campaign Continues as More Sikh Students Face Expulsion

November 19, 2006

Author: Meerat Kaur

Source: SikhSangat News/Sikh Global News

Jasmeet Singh, one of four French-Sikh schoolboys excluded from school in September for refusing to remove their Turbans, will face a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday 21st November. He will be represented by Kudrat Singh, Director of UNITED SIKHS-France and a representative of the French Turban Action Committee will also attend the hearing. Jasmeet Singh, along with Manjinder Singh, Maha Singh and Hardeep Singh, all between 16 and 17 years of age, were told when schools re-opened in September that they could not attend their schools while wearing their turbans. Younger French Sikh school children had also been asked to remove their rimals (coverings for their top knots) but after UNITED SIKHS intervened on their behalf, the schools accommodated them.

Jasmeet Singh, Maha Singh and Manjinder Singh were refused entry from their vocational schools in September this year because they refused to remove their turbans. UNITED SIKHS and the French Turban Action Committee has since being trying to find alternative schools for them. If alternative schools are not found, they will be without any education as is Gurinder Singh, who was expelled last year from his vocational school. In 2004, when the law banning religious signs came into force, three French Sikh schoolboys, Jasvir Singh, Ranjit Singh and Bikramjit Singh, were expelled from school and had to do home-study before a private Catholic school accommodated them a year later. However the private Catholic school in question is not a vocational school and is unable to accommodate Gurinder Singh, Jasmeet Singh, Maha Singh and Manjinder Singh.

“These recent cases show that the problem for Sikhs in France is far from over. We regularly hear of French-Sikh students who are asked to remove their head coverings in school and our fight to facilitate these children’s right to study in mainstream schools while practising their religion is far from over”, said Kudrat Singh, Director of UNITED SIKHS-France.