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Sikh teenage author forced to remove turban at US airport

April 21, 2016 | By

New York: As per media reports Karanveer Singh Pannu, a US based Sikh teenager who authored a book about bullying that the Sikh school children faces in the US was forced to remove his turban at the Meadows Field Airport in Bakersfield, California.

Karanveer Singh Pannu was reportedly heading for the annual Sikh Youth Symposium – a public speaking competition held in Bakersfield but was forced to remove his turban by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel.

“I had gone to talk about my book as an inspirational speaker to address all the kids participating in the annual Sikh Youth Symposium,” Pannu was quoted as saying in various media reports.

As per Karanveer Singh after going through the metal detector at the airport, he was asked to do a self-pat down of his turban and a chemical swab test for explosive material.

After a positive swab test, he was taken to a secondary screening room to be given a full pat down and was asked to remove his turban to be further scanned, the report added.

“I refused at first but when they threatened me that I could not fly, I agreed, provided they gave me a mirror to retie my turban,” said Pannu who wrote the book titled “Bullying of Sikh American Children: Through the Eyes of a Sikh American High School Student.”

“Before I removed my turban, Agent Hernandez asked the dreaded asinine question, ‘Is there anything we need to be aware of before you remove your turban?’ I politely answered that there is a lot of long hair and something called the brain underneath,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

Meanwhile, the TSA declined to comment on the specifics of any individual passenger’s screening experience.

They said officers offer a private room whenever additional screening requires the removal of religious apparel.

Pannu, however, said he felt “utterly humiliated, shaken, distraught” by the experience.

In 2007, the TSA revised its screening procedures for head coverings based on discussions with the Sikh community.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) declines to comment on the specifics of any individual passenger’s screening experience, but that all TSA officers and contracted screeners are trained to treat all passengers with dignity and respect and receive periodic training regarding cultural and religious sensitivities, A TSA spokesperson reportedly told a media network.

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