UNITED SIKHS Files Criminal Complaint Against Punjab Police for the Unlawful Removal of a Sikh's Turban and Demands Accountability From the India Government

Mar 31, 2011, 17:46 ET from UNITED SIKHS

MOHALI, Punjab, March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- UNITED SIKHS' counsel from Chandigarh, Sukhwinder Singh, today filed a criminal complaint under Section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code regarding the forcible removal of a Sikh's turban by a Punjab Police officer who was acting on the instructions of a police superintendent. The deliberate and malicious act was intended to outrage the religious sentiments of Sikhs by stripping them of their dignity and intimidating and subjugating those who were peacefully protesting.

What started off as a peaceful sit-in protest by veterinary pharmacists/employees turned into a shameful incident of police excess. The police official responsible for the reprehensible act was from the Mohali Phase VIII Station House Officer (SHO), Sub-Inspector Kulbhushan, who claims he acted on orders from Mohali Superintendent of Police (SP), Pritam Singh. A video of this disturbing incident may be watched at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONYV8hUKN3Y.

In response to mounting pressure, the Home Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal, announced the suspension of the two officers. However, further action is required to redress these consistent abuses by the Punjab Police. Earlier this year, the Chandigarh Police removed the turban of another Sikh who was asked to prove his Sikh identity, as evidenced in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lYZ1e4CL44

Addressing the long-standing reign of impunity by the Punjab Police, Mejindarpal Kaur, Legal Director for UNITED SIKHS, stated that: "The Punjab Police officers cannot be allowed to get off lightly with a suspension. This incident is not isolated and there is a need for a root and branch reform of the Punjab Police Rules with respect to protecting religious freedom."

UNITED SIKHS urges people of conscience to sign a petition that demands accountability for egregious violations of a person's religious freedom.  Please see petition below: (http://unitedsikhs.org/petitions/petition.php?id=16).

UNITED SIKHS is a UN-affiliated, international non-profit, humanitarian relief, human development and advocacy organization. Please contact UNITED SIKHS via email at law-global@unitedsikhs.org or call +91 9560645010; +91 9779957973 (India) or 1-888-243-1690 (U.S.) if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to report similar incidents.