‘Harassment & disrespect’: Indian govt urged to confront Spain after Sikh pilot forced to remove turban at Madrid airport
A prominent Sikh leader has called on New Delhi to confront the Spanish government, after an Indian Air Force pilot told him he was subjected to a ‘discriminatory’ search in Madrid.
The Sikh pilot, identified as Captain Simranjeet Singh Gujral, was reportedly harassed while passing through security at Madrid’s airport.
“The Madrid airport officials demanded him to remove his turban and asked for a manual check-up of his turban which is an offence in the eyes of a Sikh,” Manjinder Singh Sirsa, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and a member of the Delhi Legislative Assembly, wrote in a letter to External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
Turban is the essence of Sikhs’ identityWhat happened at Madrid Airport is highly condemnable; airport officials asking a Captain to remove his turban smacks of racismI urge @DrSJaishankar Ji to raise this issue & ensure respect for Sikhs turbanRT to support Capt Gujral pic.twitter.com/R1mJUjpTmm— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) November 28, 2019
He noted that the air force captain was subjected to the invasive search even after clearing the airport’s metal detectors.
“Truly, this is a case of bias and racial attitude towards Sikhs at the Madrid airport,” Sirsa said.
Sharing his letter on Twitter, the Sikh politician expressed hope that the External Affairs Ministry would raise the issue on a “global level.” He also noted that Madrid airport officials “continue to hurt our sentiments and play the ‘ignorance’ card to their advantage.”
Madrid airport is notorious for racial discrimination incidents. Last evening, Captain Simran Gujral of Air India was harassed and discriminated because of his turban. I request @DrSJaishankar Ji to raise this issue at the global level@ANI@thetribunechd@ABPNews@htTweetspic.twitter.com/J65t7PMffO— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) November 27, 2019
There are no reports so far of Madrid airport responding to the allegations. Sikhs are routinely subjected to discriminatory behavior while traveling or living abroad, usually on account of their distinctive headgear. In 2017, for example, a Sikh New York taxi cab driver was attacked and had his turban stolen by a passenger.Also on rt.com Sikh NYC cab driver attacked, has turban snatched in suspected hate crime
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