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Sikhs in Britain can now wear turbans at workplaces

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London: Sikhs in Britain will no longer face legal action for wearing turbans in majority of workplaces after the government announced a new set of rules on Thursday.

“Turban-wearing Sikhs will now have the right to choose not to wear head protection and will be exempt from legal requirements to wear a safety helmet in the majority of workplaces,” an official statement from the British government said.

Since 1989, Sikhs working in the construction industry have been exempted from rules requiring head protection but because of a legal loophole, those in less dangerous industries, such as those working in factories and warehouses, were not.

A new landmark clause was added to the Deregulation Bill 2015 to extend the existing exemption in the Employment Act to all workplaces.

“This change demonstrates that, whoever you are, whatever your background, and whatever industry you choose, if you work hard and want to get on in life, this government will be on your side,” Priti Patel, the Indian-origin minister for employment and Indian diaspora champion, was quoted as saying.

“As the prime minister’s Indian Diaspora Champion as well as employment minister, I’m delighted to be part of the government that has made this change. It makes me proud that Britain is the home of such a talented, ambitious and hardworking community,” she added.

As per the new rules, should an individual suffer injuries as a consequence of not wearing head protection, employers will be legally protected through the extension of limited liability.

“There are exclusions for emergency response services and the military, which apply only in hazardous operational situations when the wearing of a safety helmet is considered necessary,” the statement read.

This may include, for example, entering a burning building or those where protective clothing needs to enclose the whole body in situations such as bomb disposal, or dealing with hazardous materials like chemical leaks, biohazards or radiation.

This will not, however, bar Sikhs from the armed forces, police and fire services, and the new clause will make no blanket ban on participation by turban-wearing Sikhs. There are about 4,000 Sikhs in police and 230 across the armed forces.

Welcoming the new rules, Gurinder Singh Josan, spokesperson for Sikh Council, Britain, said: “We are pleased that parliament listened to our campaign and enabled this vital change in the law.”

“It will make a real difference to Sikhs in Britain by increasing the number of workplaces that turban wearing Sikhs can work in whilst maintaining their religiously mandated identity,” he added.

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Seven Decades after Partition: Sikhs in Pakistan Struggle amid Bombings and Violence

Sikhs in Pakistan have been looking to leave Pakistan as their homeland has begun to turn toward radical Islam

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Sikhs in pakistan
Types of 51st Sikhs (Frontier Force), now 3 Frontier Force, Pakistan Army. ca. 1905. Wikimedia Commons
  • In today’s period, Sikhs in Pakistan are among the smallest minorities
  • Pakistan today uses blasphemy as a weapon against minorities and fellow Muslims alike, which is a crime that carries an involuntary death penalty
  • Mr. Singh heads a council representing the Sikhs in Pakistan

Aug 15, 2017: At the age of 11, Radesh Singh’s grandfather left his village in India’s Punjab province to move to Peshawar, which is bordered by Afghanistan in the far northwest of the country.

Pakistan wasn’t even a glint in the eye of its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah in the year 1901 when the British ruled the Indian subcontinent and Peshawar held the promise of work and adventure.

It has been 70 years since the partition of India, which divided the subcontinent into majority Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan and led to one of the largest migrations in modern history.

Singh’s family have been waging a secessionist uprising in India ever since, demanding unmitigated sovereignty for India’s Punjab state where they command. Singh’s family is neither Hindu nor Muslim but Sikh, a religious minority in both countries. Feeling increasingly less at home on either side of the border, they have been victims of local Taliban violence in the recent years in Muslim Pakistan.

Singh’s grandfather would never return to his village, not even in 1947. Singh stated that poverty kept his grandfather in Peshawar, which was controlled by fiercely independent ethnic Pashtun tribesmen. He said, “It’s not easy to start over at zero when you have very little,” mentioned BBG Direct.

ALSO READ: 10,000 members of Sikh community in Pakistan lack Education and Health: Sikh Leader 

According to Singh, the enmity in the immediate aftermath of 1947 was slightly lower in the northwest. It was followed by decades of peace. The decision to stay in Pakistan appeared like a reliable option at the time.

The Sikhs had lived harmoniously for centuries alongside their Pashtun Muslim countrymen. Singh explains, Sikhs had a glorious history in the northwest. In the 18th century, they oversaw a dynasty headed by a Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh, whose capital was Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore. He rebuilt Peshawar’s infamous Bala Hisar Fort, an imposing walled fortress that some historians assume is as old as the city itself.

In today’s period, easily identifiable because of the colorful turbans and the surname Singh, Sikhs in Pakistan are among the smallest minorities. As indicated by the CIA Factbook, 3.6 percent of Pakistan’s 180 million people are non-Muslims which include Sikhs, Christians, and Hindus.

Singh asserted until 1984 Pakistan’s Hindus and Sikhs lived unitedly in northwest Pakistan. Their children married and worshipped together. But after the tragic assassination of India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, the entire scene changed consequently.

“They (Hindus) cut all relations with us. They said Pakistani Sikhs are like all Sikhs everywhere. No difference. They said, ‘From now on, we will be separate from you”, Singh recalled.

Today Sikhs in Pakistan are contending with the government for possession of dozens of Sikh temples (Gurdwaras); however, they have succeeded to restore some of the buildings. The Pakistan government took over the buildings after 1947 and allowed the squatters to remain.

Once a vibrant Gurdwara attended by hundreds of Sikhs, it no longer resembled a house of worship but rather a sweeping courtyard. However, it was until now that two families called it the home, said Singh.

Singh who heads a council representing the Sikhs in Pakistan, said young Sikhs have been looking to leave as the homeland has begun to turn toward radical Islam.

“They want to go to another country, not to India or Pakistan. But every country eyes them with suspicion.,” he said.

He adds, “Even Indians see his Pakistani passport and question his intentions, suggesting he wants to agitate for Sikh secessionism, the battle that resulted in Indira Gandhi’s death and a dream still held by many Sikhs on both sides of the border.”

According to Singh, Pakistan’s slide into intolerance began when Pakistan’s military dictator Zia-ul Haq set the country on the course of Islamic radicalization in the late 1970s with the former Soviet Union’s invasion of neighboring Afghanistan. Jihad became a rallying cry to defeat the communists in Afghanistan.

Extremism aggravated after the 2001 intrusion of Afghanistan by a U.S.-led coalition, he proclaimed.

The tribal areas were steadily caught by Taliban and in 2013 several Sikhs were killed, their limbs cut. Singh said the brutality of the killings and the threats sent thousands abandoning Pakistan.

Pakistan today uses blasphemy as a weapon against minorities and fellow Muslims alike, which is a crime that carries an involuntary death penalty.

“That is why we have a fear in our hearts, that this law can be used against us,” he told.

“In the last nearly 40 years we have been facing the boom, boom (mimicking the sound of explosions) in every city of Pakistan,” said Singh. “In a long time we have not heard any sweet sounds in our Peshawar, but still we love our city.”


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Indian-Origin Doctor Arpan Doshi to Become Britain’s Youngest Physician to Start Working at Hospital

An Indian-origin medical graduate broke the record to start work in the UK by 17 days

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Indian-Origin Doctor Arpan Doshi
A Sheffield University graduate becomes the youngest physician to work in Britain. Wikimedia
  • An Indian-origin doctor breaks record and becomes the youngest physician in Britain to start working 
  • He received scholarship of 13,000 pounds from University of Sheffield
  • He will start his two-year training at York teaching hospital in August

London, July 21, 2017: An Indian origin doctor named Arpan Doshi is becoming Britain’s youngest physician to begin working at a hospital located in the northeast of England. He completed his graduation with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree from the University of Sheffield on Monday. Doshi, whose age is 21 years and 335 days, will start working in York as a junior doctor the following month.

The record of the youngest doctor starting work in the UK was broken by him by only 17 days. He said that he didn’t even realize that he became the youngest individual to qualify till his friend checked the internet. He has not told his parents till now but he knows they’ll be proud of his achievement, mentioned PTI report.

ALSO READ: Indian-origin Doctor Balvinder Mehat held for ‘illegal’ Circumcision of 3-month-old Baby in London

He was sent to a school situated in Gandhinagar, Gujrat, till the age of 13 after which Bharat Doshi, his father who was a mechanical engineer, was employed in Aix en Provence for an international project causing his whole family to shift to France.

Arpan, in his statement, said that he realized that he had already studied the things being taught in his school in France which made him skip a year.

Soon after his 17th birthday, he started sending his applications to universities. He faced one rejection but the other three accepted him. The University of Sheffield offered him a 13,000 pounds scholarship after being impressed with his credentials.

To fund his doctorate degree, he received some financial aid given by his parents but he also had to work part-time as a local school’s lunch supervisor and in the service of careers.

“My dream is to become a heart surgeon but it is a very competitive field. It is not really a surprise I have ended up as a doctor,” he said.

Arpan broke the record of Rachael Faye Hill, the former youngest doctor eligible to qualify, who graduated from University of Manchester with a medical degree when her age in 2010 was 21 years and 352 days.

Doshi, with his doctorate degree, is all set to break her record in August when he begins with his training of two years at York teaching hospital as a junior doctor.

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of Newsgram. Twitter Hkaur1025


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Italian Supreme Court ruled against a Sikh Migrant who wanted to carry a Kirpan in Public

The Sikh man in the case was appealing against another court's decision ordering him to pay a 2,000 euro fine ($2,195)

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Sikh Community, Wikimedia

Rome, May 16, 2017: The Italian Supreme Court has ruled against a Sikh migrant who wanted to carry a kirpan in public.

The court on Monday said migrants who choose to live in Italy must respect Italian laws prohibiting the carrying of weapons even though Sikhs regard kirpan as sacred.

The court, while acknowledging that diversity in a multi-ethnic society is important, ruled that “public safety from weapons was of paramount importance and superseded an individual’s rights”, BBC reported.

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The Sikh man in the case was appealing against another court’s decision ordering him to pay a 2,000 euro fine ($2,195) because he had been caught leaving his home in Goito, northern Italy, armed with a kirpan measuring nearly 20cm, the Italian media reported.

The man had argued that his kirpan as well as his turban were symbols of his religion and wearing them was part of his religious duty.

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But the court in Rome ruled that migrants must ensure that their beliefs are legally compatible with host countries.

“(While) the multi-ethnic society is a necessity, public safety is an asset to be protected,” the court ruled. (IANS)

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