India calls Italian envoy over turban issue

Last Updated: Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 19:27

New Delhi: Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini was on Thursday called to the External Affairs Ministry, which stressed upon the need for being sensitive towards concerns of Sikhs regarding turbans following an incident at Rome Airport when a Sikh delegation was asked to remove headgears during security checking.
Mancini was called by Secretary (West) Sudhir Vyas and sensitivity of the situation was impressed on, official sources said here.

"The Ambassador indicated that there is a large Sikh population in Italy and the authorities are sensitive to the concerns of the Sikh community on such matters. He also mentioned of the strict guidelines that have been issued for officials to follow in such matters. He also assured that he would once again convey the sensitivity of the issue to the Italian authorities," a source said.

The Sikh delegation, which included the President of Delhi Gurudwara Management Committee, was asked to remove turbans at the Rome International Airport on August 6 following which the Indian Embassy in Rome had taken the matter up with the airport authorities as well as with the Italian Foreign Office.

"Upon receiving the communication from the Indian Mission the Italian Foreign Office intervened with the airport authorities and facilitated the departure of the Sikh delegation without insisting on removing the turbans. The delegation left for Dubai late last night through the VIP lounge," the source said.

During today`s meeting in South Block, the sensitivity of the situation was impressed on the Italian Ambassador by Secretary (West) in the MEA, the sources said.

The issue was also raised in the Lok Sabha by Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur who said after the 9/11 terror strikes in the US, Sikhs were subjected to growing hate crimes as they were being targeted because of their attire.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 19:27

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