A Sikh army captain who sued the U.S. military for discrimination in March has won the right to continue serving on active duty while upholding his religiously mandated turban and beard.
The U.S. Army released its decision on Thursday to grant Captain Simratpal Singh “religious accommodation” to the rules against facial hair and headwear, adding that “the Army intends to gather information to develop uniform standards for religious accommodations.”
“My military service continues to fulfill a lifelong dream,” Singh, a West Point graduate who earned a Bronze Star in Afghanistan, said in a press release. “My faith, like many of the soldiers I work with, is an integral part of who I am. I am thankful that I no longer have to make the choice between faith and service to our nation.”
After years of cutting his hair and shaving his face, Singh was finally granted a temporary accommodation in December. Assistant Army Secretary Debra Wada ordered tests in March to determine whether Singh could safely wear a helmet and gas mask if he had a turban, uncut hair and a beard.
Thursday’s decision by the Army states that Singh will not have to reapply for accommodation in the future.
“In a political context where minorities are being marginalized and attacked routinely, it is critical that our nation’s largest institutions and employers — like the U.S. military — show the country that America embraces diversity,” Simran Jeet Singh, the Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition, told The Huffington Post.
He added, though, that this decision is just one step toward ending the discriminatory policies regarding article of faith for service members.
In 2014, the U.S. military began taking steps to give individual troops greater freedom to wear turbans, head scarfs, yarmulkes and other religious clothing with their uniforms. A spokesman for the Sikh Coalition noted at the time that the religious accommodation would have to be approved each time a service member changed assignments and would default to the discretion of their commanders.
Just two day’s before the Army released its decision on Singh’s case, three other Sikh soldiers filed a lawsuit seeking similar accommodations from the Army. With Singh’s victory and the Army’s promise to “develop uniform standards,” there may be hope for others in a similar predicament.
The new policy has sent a clear indication to Pakistan that the Indian government was not averse to precision attacks similar to last year’s cross-border strike on militants in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
The attacks on Indian military bases in Sunjwan, Uri and Pathankot are not routine militancy
Like every time, this time also Pakistan denied its hand in the audacious terror attack on the Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Sunjwan area
A surgical strike can be carried out by sending Special Forces into enemy territory through various channels
On 10 February 2018, the Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists barged into the camp of the 36 brigade of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry and started firing indiscriminately. The terrorists managed to sneak into the camp from the rear end of the base after a brief exchange of fire with the sentry guarding the periphery. The Sunjwan attack resulted in the death of five Army men, including two junior commissioned officers (JCOs), and the father of a soldier.
The attacks on Indian military bases in Sunjwan, Uri and Pathankot are not routine militancy. They replicate the acts of war. Without reacting in a knee-jerk manner to the terror attack, the Indian Army will come up with a befitting reply, the like of one which army gave after Uri attack.
Although, intelligence agencies had informed of some kind strike on an Army or security establishment by Jaish-e-Mohammed. The threat was issued in view of the death anniversary of Afzal Guru, who was hanged on 9 February 2013, for the 2001 attack on Parliament House.
Like every time, this time also Pakistan denied its hand in the audacious terror attack on the Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Sunjwan area. On top of that, Pakistan showed the audacity to warn India against conducting cross-border strikes.
In the new military doctrine, India has kept the options open for surgical strikes in response to any “terror provocations.” This sends the clear indication to Pakistan that the Indian government was not averse to precision attacks similar to last year’s cross-border strike on militants in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Now the question arises, as to why Pakistan was taken on the backfoot after Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman condemned the attack and vowed to take revenge on the part of fallen heroes of Indian Army.
What is a Surgical Strike?
A surgical strike is meticulously devised swift and calculated strike on the specific target with an aim to neutralize the intended lot while ensuring minimum collateral damage to the surrounding areas. Such neutralization of the targets cut down the possibility of a full-blown war. Surgical strikes are part of India’s response to the ‘Cold War’ strategy followed by Pakistan and has already proved effective in foiling a new infiltration bid by terrorist groups across the LoC (Line of Control).
A surgical strike can be carried out by sending Special Forces into enemy territory through various channels. It could be achieved by air raids, airdropping special ops teams or a ground operation. All three Indian armed forces, Army, Air Force and Navy have their separate special ops teams. The details operation like surgical strikes is understandably never been revealed by the Indian authorities. External intelligence like Military intelligence, Intelligence Bureau and R&AW are quite vital in carrying out these attacks and these special operation teams work closely with them.
India’s Special Forces carried out surgical strikes against militant camps in Myanmar in June 2015, leaving 38 Naga insurgents dead and on similar lines, a surgical strike on Pakistan’s terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) was carried out. Both the operations had the backing of the central government and India’s muscular response was announced to the world.
Pakistan, however, rubbished India’s claim as a “figment of imagination”.
What is the need for Surgical Strike?
The surgical strike is said to be the best form of attack is political theatre. It fulfils the need of a shot in the arm for enemies without causing serious military damage to the other side, thus limiting escalation.
During the surgical strike on Pakistan, army picked their target well too and struck when the terrorists and Pakistan Army was caught virtually with their pants down. There was nothing wrong with the response which India gave to Pakistan, as the Indian Army struck in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), which rightfully belongs to India and whose freedom is something that India has a direct stake in. n no manner, that part belongs to Pakistan.
Again, in a brilliant move, the army chose to target the terrorists who were being pushed into India by Pakistan from the terror launch pads. The international community also stayed united on the offensive surgical strike by Indian Army.
The global community condemns the terror in any form and India hit the terrorist in that manner only. During the crossfire at that time, two Pakistani soldiers were killed as they sought to defend the terrorists. It is no two ways theory that Pakistan army fuel full supports to various dreaded organizations and later pump them into India, in the name of ‘Jihad.’
Surgical strike humiliated Pakistan beyond imagination. It showed them up for their coward acts that they prefer to strike on sleeping people. Although, Pakistan came up with a full denial that any such surgical strike by Indian Army as claimed by India never happened. But it was the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif who admitted the Strike, which was again refuted by Pakistani Army.
If this is the only language that Pakistan wants to talk, the Indian government and armed forces will take no lying down and every miss-adventure from any foreign organization will be dealt with the same fury. Since long, Pakistan has been testing India’s patience level on the doctrine of ‘Cold War’ strategy and now it’s high time that India should make them learn for their intended misjudgements.
Whether a knife falls on a melon or a melon falls on the knife, it is always the melon that gets cut. In the proxy war waged by Pakistan, it is always the innocent people who have always been the worst sufferers.