Akalis today strongly condemned the Chandigarh Administration for its arbitrary amendment to the Motor Vehicle Rules.
SAD urged the officials to change the definition of a Sikh woman to mean “only a woman wearing a turban”.
SAD claimed that the Chandigarh UT administration’s action has unintentionally hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community.
Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema, Senior Vice President and spokesperson of Shiromani Akali Dal said that the UT has “absolutely no right to define or redefine the identity of a Sikh woman or to determine who is a Sikh woman in the eyes of law.”
“Their action in this regard is absolutely dictatorial, ill-conceived and thoughtless. How can the UT administration assume the right to change the definition of a Sikh woman which has been well laid out in the ‘Sikh Rehat Maryada.’
It is none of the UT’s business to change that Rehat Maryada.” said Cheema.
Dr Cheema was referring to a recent notification of the UT Admin notification which said that for exemption from wearing a helmet, a “’Sikh woman’ would mean ‘a Sikh woman wearing a turban’.
“Someone needs to educate the UT administration that the basis for exemption from wearing helmets to the Sikhs is granted on the grounds not of inconvenience but of religious sensitivity and the principles which prohibit a Sikh from wearing a helmet or a cap or a hat” said Cheema.
Dr. Cheema also expressed surprise while the state of Punjab stood firmly in defending the exemption to all Sikh women granted on the basis of Supreme Court judgment, the Capital of the state, Chandigarh, has taken an altogether different and opposite stand.
This has created a dichotomy between two different sets of laws for women in the parent state on the one hand and those living in its capital on the other.
“If needed, the party will meet the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister as well as National Commission for Minorities on this extremely sensitive religious issue,” Dr Cheema declared.
He said that the as per the tenets and Maryada of the Sikh religion, it is not necessary for a Sikh woman to support a turban this is entirely her choice.
A turban is compulsory only for men in Sikhism. Almost 99.99% of Sikh women cover their heads with ‘Dupatta’.
The exemption to Sikh women from wearing a helmet applies to all of them. But under the new notification, all these women have been denied their rights as Sikh women.