January 24, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, United Kingdom (January 23, 2013): As per information available with Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) earlier this week the Sikh Federation (UK) led a 12-member European-wide delegation of Sikhs to meet European Commission staff responsible for policy on airport security to clarify the position on search of Sikh turbans at airports.
On 17 December 2012 the Department for Transport in the UK wrote to Sikh organisations, including the Sikh Federation (UK), to confirm the new Regulation on Aviation security was expected to be published before 31 December 2012 and implemented in early 2013.
The new Regulation on Aviation Security will allow the option of Sikh turbans to be searched using the UK method that gives due respect to the Sikh turban. In the UK hand held metal detectors and Explosive Test Devise (ETD) technology (swab testing for chemicals) are used to check for anything inappropriate that may be in a turban.
This means the turban does not need to be removed, searched by hand or even touched by hand. This gives due respect to the Sikh turban and provides a better security solution than hand searches.
The European-wide Sikh delegation met with Margus Rahuoja, Senior Advisor (Aviation Policy and Security) to Siim Kallas, Vice-President and European Commissioner for Transport.
“He commended the Sikh Federation (UK) for taking a robust, but sensible and pragmatic approach in dealing with the Department for Transport in the UK in securing both the need for respect for the Sikh turban and the need for suitable security”, reads a statement by Sikh Federation (UK).
Mr. Rahuoja pointed out the new Regulation had now been finalised and would be published in February 2013. He suggested Sikhs living in different EU countries in mainland Europe, in particular countries like Italy, where there have been difficulties, immediately engage with their respective government departments responsible for airport security and target airports from where large numbers of Sikhs travel to ensure these airports have in place suitable equipment to allow the UK method of searching turbans to be available as soon as possible and security staff are given appropriate training.
Sikh representatives also discussed with European Commission staff what they should do if airport staff were deliberately offensive and discriminatory towards Sikhs with turbans. The meeting took place in the main European Commission Berlaymont Building in Brussels.
The 12-member delegation of Sikhs included Sikhs from the UK, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands and comprised: Dabinderjit Singh, Daljit Singh, Harjinder Singh, Harwant Singh Daduwal, Jaspal Singh, Javinder Singh, Malkiat Singh, Sadhu Singh, Satnam Singh, Satwinder Singh, Talvinder Singh and Tarlochan Singh.