Parents and other Sikh community members protested at St. Francis Convent School in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, on Thursday, July 21, against a rule that asked Sikh students not to come to school with a turban (Dastar) and Kirpan (a ceremonial knife). Notably, the Kirpan is one of the five distinctive signs of the Sikh Khalsa, and both of these objects are Sikhism’s holy emblems.
A school teacher reportedly told students on Wednesday during a prayer meeting that all students should be seen wearing the same uniform and that those who come wearing a turban, carrying a “kirpan,” or wearing a “Kada” (steel bracelet), should stop doing so from Thursday. This information was provided by Malik Singh Kalra, the former president of the Model Town Gurdwara Committee.
On Thursday, a number of Sikh community members showed up at the school, alleging that the teacher had requested the students to leave because they had disobeyed the instruction. They demanded the dismissal of the school’s principal in protest of the authorities’ directive.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) also into the debate once the report gained popularity. The missionary school’s order was strongly disapproved of by the Sikhs’ highest religious organization. Additionally, criticizing yesterday’s event in Alwar, Rajasthan, where several unnamed Muslim teenagers beat a former Granthi named Gurbaksh Singh, SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami said in a statement, “I appeal to Sikhs living across the country to come together and organise to firmly raise voice against people who are doing discrimination against Sikhs and urge the administration at the local level to take action.”
As soon as Bareilly District Magistrate Shivakant Dwivedi was aware of the demonstration taking place on the school grounds, he rushed to the scene and talked to the crowd. He called the parents into his office and the principal, Anne Rose.
Dwivedi said that the school administration had apologized and recognized that there had been some miscommunication. He continued by saying the problem had been solved.
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