January 24, 2014 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Amritsar, Punjab (January 24, 2014): As per information Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) has welcomed the recent decision taken by US military administration to allow Sikh soldiers to wear turbans.
“Allowing amritdhari Sikhs to wear five Ks on duty is a highly commendable decision taken by the US government which will also help to prevent hate attacks against the community members living in America and other countries,” Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar reportedly told Times of India (TOI) on Thursday (Jan. 23).
It may be recalled that on January 22 the United States military approved a new policy that loosens regulations on religious symbols worn by service members, which would affect Sikhs, Jews, Muslims and Wiccans, who were not allowed to serve if they insisted on wearing their religious symbols.
Though the decision is being considered as a victory of Sikhs or other religious minorities serving in US army, it has come with a rider – religious activities should not interfere with a soldier’s ability to perform and should balance the need of service member against need to accomplish the military mission.
SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar said his organization had been taking up the issue with the Indian government and US embassy in Delhi to Sikh soldiers to wear their religious symbols on duty in US.
“Finally, US government has realized the importance of religious symbols in a Sikh’s life and have allowed soldiers to wear these on duty,” he said.
Avtar Singh Makkar expressed hope that with Pentagon’s latest policy shift on wearing of religious symbols on duty in the US army, governments of other countries, who had imposed restriction on display of religious symbols, might also review their decisions.
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