Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dastar Issue :Outcome of the Meeting between Consul General of India and Italian Authorities

Mr.S.K.Verma(Consulate General of India in Milan)

The meeting between Mr.S.K.Verma,Honourable Consul General of India in Milan and Italian Authorities was held in a friendly and cooperative environment to find the common ground in respect of the problems being faced by the Sikh passengers at Malpensa Airport.The Italian authorities included those from the Civil Aviation Authority, SEA and Frontier Police.

Representatives of the Indian Sikh community explained the relevance and significance of Dastar to the Italian authorities present there.Mr. S.K.Verma,the Consul General of India,Milan,appreciated the efforts made by the Italian authorities,so far,in reducing the total number of Sikh passengers at Malpensa Airport, put through manual inspection of their Dastars.Earlier,Dastars of all Sikh passengers were subjected to mandatory additional manual inspection.

After continuous dialogue,the Malpensa airport authorities have installed separate enclosures with mirror and curtain for manual inspection of Dastars.The issue of new technology intervention to resolve the problem at hand,too,was discussed.As one of the creative solutions,the Sikh community in northern Italy promised to get in touch with the highest Sikh religious body in India to see if permission for the security personnel at the airport could be obtained for touching and inspecting the Dastars by
hand, without asking the passengers to take them off.

The Italian authorities mentioned that the random selection of passengers,including
those belonging to the Sikh religion will continue.

Dr.Gurdeep Kaur
University of Milan

Associate Professor
SGND Khalsa College
University of Delhi

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