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French assurance on turban issue

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, SEPT. 14. The issue of the ban on turbans for Sikh children studying in France was expected to be resolved soon. This was conveyed by the French Ambassador in India, Dominique Girard, to the Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab, Ashwini Kumar.

Mr. Kumar, who is the president of Indo-French Parliamentary Friendship Group, had made an on the issue appeal at a dinner he hosted in honour of the president of the France-India Friendship Group of the French Senate, Pierre Fauchon. Mr. Fauchon is leading a delegation to India that includes Xavier De Villepin.

In a statement issued today, Mr. Kumar said he drew the delegation's attention to the "sensitive" issue pertaining to the French policy of prohibiting the wearing of turbans in public by members of the Sikh community.

He said the move was affecting school-going Sikh children. Responding to the appeal, Mr. Girard said the French Government would soon resolve the issue "to the satisfaction of the Sikh community which is held in high esteem in France."

Mr. Girard also assured Mr. Kumar that Sikh children would be able to attend classes consistent with their religious sensitivities in the spirit of liberalism and equality.

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