GoI seeks report from BFI over `turban row`, asks IOC to issue guidelines

Zee Media Bureau/Dattaraj Thaly

New Delhi: After two `Sikh` players from the Indian basketball team were asked to play without their turbans during the recently concluded Asia Cup in China, the Minister of Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Sarbananda Sonowal has issued a statement expressing shock and has sought a detailed report from the Basketball Federation of India (BFI).

Following is the text of full statement:

“We are aware that some players of the Indian Basketball team were not allowed to play with turbans in the Asia Cup held in China recently. We are shocked and outraged. We have spoken to Basketball Federation of India and sought a detailed report from them. 

We have also asked International Olympic Committee (IOC) to issue necessary guidelines/instructions to international sports federations so that such incidents do not take place again. 

Our Government respects all religions and will do everything to ensure that their sentiments do not get hurt. 

Wearing a turban does not affect fair play and has not been objected to in international sports championships. Therefore, the latest incident has surprised and shocked us.” 

The statement comes after Amritpal Singh and Amjyot Singh were asked to take-off their turbans by the tournament organisers on July 2012 as the Indian team was preparing to enter the court for their match against Japan.

The duo were refused entry on the court by the organisers on the grounds of violation of rules in FIBA`s Article 4.4.2, which states: "Players shall not wear equipment (objects) that may cause injury to other players."

However, while speaking to a reputed English daily, the players claim they were allowed to wear turbans during last year`s Asian Championships in Manila as well as the Lusofonia Games that were recently held in Goa.

Hence the Government of India has also asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to issue specific guidelines to international sports federations before sporting events, which can be communicated to players thereby avoiding such incidents in the future.

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