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UK changes law on turbans for Sikhs – A Baisakhi gift to Punjabis

Amidst calls by a section of the Sikh community to boycott Baisakhi celebrations in protest against Britain’s role in the build-up to the 1984 Operation Bluestar, PM David Cameron has announced a relaxation in rules on wearing turbans in workplaces.

Speaking at a Baisakhi event, Cameron said Sikhs would no longer be compelled to remove turbans and wear hard hats in certain work environment, but not in others, a situation that arose due what officials called “a quirk in law”.

The change in law takes forward legislations relevant to the Sikh community that were first challenged in 1969, when bus driver Sohan Singh Jolly succeeded in his campaign to overturn a local ban on drivers wearing turbans.

Under current law, Sikhs who wear turbans are exempt from wearing head protection on construction sites, but have to wear it in less hazardous workplaces.

Speaking at an event that was attended by Indian high commissioner Ranjan Mathai, MPs and leading members of the British Indian community Cameron said, “We are opening the door to allow turban-wearing Sikhs to accept jobs in occupations and industries that they might previously have considered were off-limits.”

*HT MEdia

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