Outrage over Forced Haircut of Young Sikh

August 25, 2006

Source: New Zealand Herald

Wire Service: Reuters


On August 25, 2006 Reuters reported, "Lawmakers disrupted the Indian parliament and angry members of the minority Sikh community staged street protests on Thursday after a Sikh boy's hair was cut forcibly, witnesses said. Uncut hair covered by a turban is an article of faith of the Sikh religion, founded more than 500 years ago in the northern Indian region of Punjab. Protests began in northern India this week after six teenagers were accused of forcibly cutting the hair of a Sikh boy in Jaipur city, capital of Rajasthan state. The six boys were apparently upset about the Sikh boy's friendship with a local girl, police said. 'This is painful and we don't accept it,' said Rana Gurjeet Singh, a Sikh member of parliament, as lawmakers accused the Rajasthan government of failing to protect religious minorities. The incident has led to demonstrations by Sikhs in Rajasthan, Punjab and New Delhi, with some men belonging to the community brandishing sacred swords in the streets. On Wednesday, Sikhs in Punjab forced shops to close and stopped buses in protest. 'This attack caused me a lot of pain. It is an attack on the Sikhs and I want justice,' Indrapreet Singh, the victim, told a local TV channel. One of the six boys accused of being involved in the incident was arrested on Thursday in New Delhi. It was not clear what the charges were."