The Belgian Conseil d’Etat up helds the freedom of religion of sikh students by voiding the van on Sikh Turban in two Go schools, which are the part of a large group of schools attended by Sikh students. The GO schools has the obligation to organise its education without providing any harm to the Sikh integrity.
United Sikhs, an international advocacy NGO had led a legal campaign to reverse the ban on the Sikh Turban. Its legal team has been at the forefronts of the roller-coaster battle since 2006.
“After many years of peaceful resistance, the Sikhs have been proved right,”said Pieter Lagae, UNITED SIKHS’ Belgian lawyer.
Sharanjit Singh, 13 yr old was forced to remove his patka and attend a belguim school for the past one year. Sharanjit’s father, Surjit Singh added “Sharanjit is a rather shy boy, afraid of doing things wrong or being excluded. Following the ban he took off his patka very much to his distress. I am very happy that the Conseil d’Etat has overturned the ban and I hope my son will be able to put the past year behind him and look ahead to a good future,”
“The Conseil d’Etat has claimed, in essence, that a school cannot simply impose a ban on wearing outward symbols of religious belief without having grounds for doing so (such as disturbing the peace, proselytising, etc.). If a school nevertheless does this, it represents an excessive breach of the internationally protected fundamental right to religious freedom (art. 9 ECHR),” said Pieter Lagae, Sharanjit’s lawyer.
The team of United Sikhs appreciates the efforts of Conseil d’Etat for securing the religious beliefs of the Sikhs. The Counseil d’Etat now declares that the wearing of turban by a Sikh is not only his/her religious duty but is a part of his/her identity. The campaign embarked by The United Sikhs succeeded in their efforts to ensure that the Sikh beliefs and the freedom of religion are upheld.
~ Source: United Sikhs