Thursday, May 3, 2012

Can Sikh women wear helmets for safety, DSGMC asks Akal Takht

Days after Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit disagreed with her Transport department’s undertaking to the Delhi High Court that it was willing to change rules and make it mandatory for women to wear helmets while riding two-wheelers, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has asked the Akal Takht, the supreme religious and temporal seat of Sikhism, to decide whether Sikh women should be allowed to wear helmets in the interest of safety.
The DSGMC move to step beyond religious compulsions on grounds of safety follows the Transport department’s submission that it was willing to change provisions in the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules that exempted women from wearing helmets. But Dikshit differed, saying the rule making it optional for women pillion riders to wear helmets was formulated in 1999 on requests by a particular community — she didn’t name the Sikhs — and that exemption couldn’t be withdrawn so easily.
Bhajan Singh Walia, Senior Vice President of DSGMC, told Newsline that they have approached the Akal Takht to take a call, given the safety issue involved.
“Essentially, the High Court’s decision is in totality for all men and women in view of safety of people travelling on busy and dangerous Delhi roads. But our religion absolutely prohibits people from wearing any form of a cap, and wearing a helmet (a form of cap) goes against the tenets of our religion,” Walia said.
“Our religious texts have given elaborate details about the way we should preserve our kesh (hair). Our hair can’t be trimmed, cut or even clipped. If at all one has to preserve his/her hair, it has to be done in a proper turban,” he said.

with thanks : INDIAN EXPRESS : LINK for detailed news.

1 comment:

Dr.Gurdeep Kaur said...

Which is more important: Sikh Women Safety or Sikh Religious Code of Conduct?
Please comment your views regarding this major controversial issue..

Delhi Government's decision to enforce wearing of helmets by women driving or riding pillion on a two-wheeler could snowball into a controversy again.While the government is exploring ways to make necessary changes in rules to make helmets compulsory for women, leaders of Sikh organisations said they would oppose any such move tooth and nail.

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee president Pramajit Singh Sarna said,"Wearing any headgear by women is prohibited in our religion, even if it is a helmet.We'll oppose any such move of the government.It has been more than 50 years since two-wheelers started plying in our country.I have not heard of women falling off scooters and dying because they were not wearing helmets".

While Traffic experts believe fatalities would come down drastically if women drivers and riders start wearing helmets.International road Federation chairman KK Kapila said,"I think Sikh organisations should be convinced by showing them statistics".

The proposal to make helmets mandatory for women had turned into a major controversy in the late 1990s too. While the Central Motor Vehicles Act had made it compulsory for anyone riding a two-wheeler to wear a protection on head, but exception were made to Sikh men wearing turbans.