Chandigarh: Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday welcomed the assurance given by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to Sikhs that she would look into the issue of allowing them to wear turbans at work places and while driving motorbikes in her country.
"The assurance of the Australian Prime Minister is a good sign for the struggle of Shiromani Akali Dal and whole Sikh community for getting their rights of wearing turban in government offices and other working places on foreign lands," Badal, who is also SAD president, said in a statement.
"This is a positive move of Australian government for strengthening relations with the Sikh community which has been contributing to the economic development of that country," he said.
Gillard yesterday told Australian Sikh Association members in a closed door meeting at a Gurdwara in Glenwood, a suburb of Sydney, "We will work with your community to help make the necessary changes requested on cultural and religious ground."
Badal said repeated efforts by his party, which has been pursuing this issue in Australia, had started showing positive results.
He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should impress upon the French President to get the ban on wearing turbans in French schools lifted.
"The turban is not just a symbol of cultural faith for the Sikhs, but an inalienable part of the Sikh identity as ordained by our Gurus," he said.