Milkha lambasts turban search of Jeev`s coach in Italy

Last Updated: Mar 16, 2011, 14:14 PM IST

New Delhi: Outraged that his golfer son Jeev
Milkha Singh`s coach was asked to remove his turban during a
security check at the Milan airport, legendary runner Milkha
Singh today said the incident was an insult to the Sikh
community and smacked of racism.

"It is an insult to Sikh community and we should take it
seriously. It is a matter of great concern. The entire Sikh
community is outraged over the racial profiling. It should not
have happened," Milkha fumed.

"This is the second incident when my son had gone to play
there (Italy). Even though Amritinder Singh (coach) repeatedly
told them that it is against Sikhism they did not listen to
him. Everyone across the world knows what Sikhism is.”

"I will talk to the Prime Minister in this regard. I
would also take up the matter with Sonia Gandhi as she belongs
to that country. It is a high time that we should take the
matter seriously or otherwise there will be more such
incidents in the future," he added.

Amritinder, who was accompanying Jeev for three
tournaments on the European Tour, was told that he should
either remove the turban or not board the flight with several
people at the airport watching the scene.

Jeev protested by telling the airport security officials
that it was nothing but harassment but to no avail.

The adamant security staff at the airport let the duo off
to board the flight only after Amritinder removed his turban
and it was checked by them.

"I told the security people that this is not the way to
conduct. I have been travelling for close to 35 years but such
a thing had never happened," Amritinder Singh said over
phone from Italy.

"It is a personal insult as I have travelled all over the
world and even though security officials put their detectors
around my turban, I have never had to remove my turban. For
me it is like being asked to strip in public," he said.

Jeev called up India`s Counsellor General in Italy and
apprised him of the development after the incident.

An agitated Jeev said it was nothing but harassment of
him and his coach by the Italian authorities.

"My father wears a turban and I would be horrified if he
was told to remove it unnecessarily and disrespectfully in
front of hundreds of people," said Jeev.

The 39-year-old Jeev is currently ranked 176 in the world
and has won three European Tour events - the Volvo Masters and
China Open in 2006 and the 2008 Austrian Open.

He also has six victories on the Asian Tour. His Volvo
Masters win was at a co-sanctioned event.