Below is an article which the Sikh Helpline would like to share, having received a number of calls from those who have and are experiening similar issues. The article relates to the unlawful banning of wearing the Kara. We hope this article will help to share the message as documented in the local and regional news, explaining the law and legislation around this topic.
Nov 13 2007 by Martin Shipton, Western Mail
HUMAN rights group Liberty has given a school two weeks to let a 14-year-old Sikh girl attend classes wearing a silver bangle that symbolises her commitment to the religion.
Last week Sarika Watkins-Singh was excluded from Aberdare Girls? School after refusing to remove the kara bangle.
The school says she is in breach of a prohibition on the wearing of jewellery, but Sarika maintains she has a legal right to assert her religious beliefs.
Yesterday, Liberty solicitor Anna Fairclough wrote a pre-action letter to the school, warning that if the matter is not resolved in Sarika?s favour within two weeks, an application for a judicial review of the decision to ban her from wearing the kara will be lodged with the High Court.
The letter, which contains the detailed legal argument that Sarika will rely on, states ‘The justification which the governing body has advanced for your treatment of our client does not begin to reach the standard required for a measure which discriminates contrary to sections of the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Equality Act 2006’
Ms Fairclough goes on to state that she is, ?startled that part of the justification advanced for preventing our client from wearing the kara is to prevent her from being bullied.?
Today Sarika is due to return to school following a week?s suspension for wearing the kara. Her mother, Sanita Watkins- Singh, said there was ?no chance? Sarika would agree to remove the Kara.
Meanwhile Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood said guidance to schools on the wearing of religious garb by pupils should be issued as a matter of urgency. The guidance has been in draft form and under consultation since December 2003.
A meeting of the agencies involved in the case, convened by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, is scheduled to take place today.
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR TO YOU? ARE YOU OR SOMEONE WHO YOU KNOW GOING THROUGH THIS OR SOMETHING SIMILAR? PLEASE DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE, THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE HERE TO HELP AT THE SIKH HELPLINE, 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK. PLEASE CONTACT US USING ONE OF THE METHODS ON OUR CONTACT US PAGE.