Rome: India on Friday took up with Italy the
sensitive issue of Sikhs being asked to remove their turbans
for security checks at airports in this country and got an
assurance that the cultural and religious beliefs of Indians
will be respected.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna met his Italian
counterpart Franco Frattini here for bilateral talks during
which the issue of turbans was raised prominently.
Members of the Sikh community were recently asked to
take off their turbans during security checks at Italian
airports and India had lodged a protest with the Italian
Foreign Office on this issue earlier.
In March, the coach of golfer Jeev Milkha Singh,
Amritinder Singh was asked to remove his turban while he was
about to board a flight to Sicily.
Apart from this, Sikh community members were also
asked to take off their turbans while getting photographed for
ID cards at local police stations and many felt humiliated by
Frattini told Krishna that Italy was looking into a
system wherein turbans need not be removed for security
checks, official sources said.
Till such time as a suitable system is devised, if
some security checks are required they will be done in a
private room and not in an open area or in toilets, they said.
Frattini assured Krishna that Indian cultural and
religious beliefs, specially when they are related to minority
communities, would be respected.
Krishna said that Sikhs are a highly respected
community in Italy and will safeguard their human rights,
including expression of religious beliefs.
The minister was also informed that the municipality
of Rome has agreed to install a statue of legendary Bangla
Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore at a prime location.