Discrimination with Sikh students by Indian Air Force in Kashmir when Sikh candidates were asked to remove kirpan- a mandatory religious sign in Sikh religion.

Fundamental rights of Sikhs violated in Kashmir Sikh students not allowed inside the Air force station do give exams wearing their Kirpans on  23 Feb 2014 At Srinagar Air force station.With Wahegurus grace Sikh students refused to comprise with their religion and returned without giving exams But this shamefull act has hurt the sentiments of Sikhs. Who are the only microscopic minority community left in the Kashmir.

The Sikh aspirants have taken it as humiliation and are seeking court intervention into the matter. “We tried to convince them, but their somewhat paradox approach compelled us to move silently out of the examination center. Following us all Sikh aspirants moved out of the examination center expressing their protest,” said Harvinder Singh, adding that we are planning to move our pleas to high court and if needed to Apex court also.
While expressing serious concern over the matter, Assistant professor cum social activist, Sardar Amarjit Singh said that this thing should not be taken casually. “This is shameful on the part of Indian Air Force, who despite knowing very well the significance of Kirpan for a Sikh as their senior officer Marshal Arjun Singh also belongs to the same faith to which they today raised irrelevant objections and compelled Sikh aspirants to take it off. I salute those daring Sikh aspirants who instead of caring about their career, moved out of the examination center with great pride,” he said.
He further said that support of all Sikh academicians and social activists is with the Sikh candidates who are mulling to file PIL in the court in contravention of their fundamental right.
Being in minuscule minority in Kashmir, Sikhs always considered themselves as a part of India, but after such happenings Sikh youth become critical of Indian policies, where basic tenets of Sikhs are not being respected. Despite ideological conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims of Kashmir, when Kashmiri Pandits fled away in the wake of armed insurgency, Sikhs maintained their courage and settled in Kashmir, representing a section of Indians in an anti-India nation.
It is pertinent to mention that following this incident some protests were staged in the Kashmir Valley by the Sikh community, but no media coverage was given to the incident. An introspection is much needed on the part of Indian officials, how to deal with nationalists and anti-nationalists. Things should be sort out, before this protest turns into indignation and alike Muslims of Kashmir, this minority community will also perceive India as a tyrant nation.

Hats off to these Sikh youths who refused to put off their mandatory religious signs to get a job, instead they preferred to walk out. The said exam was conducted by Indian Air Force in Kashmir (J&K). The fundamental right of every citizen gives freedom to practice freely his/her religion by every citizen, than how could the authorities discriminate with Sikh youths That shows racism and thus the said exam should be cancelled.

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The seven fundamental rights recognized by the Indian constitution are:

  1. Right to equality, including equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, gender or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment, abolition of untouchability and abolition of titles.
  2. Right to freedom which includes speech and expression, assembly, association or union or cooperatives, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation (some of these rights are subject to security of the State, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency or morality), right to life and liberty, right to education, protection in respect to conviction in offences and protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.
  3. Right against exploitation, prohibiting all forms of forced labour, child labour and traffic in human beings;
  4. Right to freedom of religion, including freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion, freedom to manage religious affairs, freedom from certain taxes and freedom from religious instructions in certain educational institutes.
  5. Cultural and Educational rights preserving Right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script, and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  6. Right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
  7. Right to elementary education.

Right to property was originally a fundamental right, but under 44th Amendment Act, right to property ceased to be a Fundamental right. Instead the right to property is mentioned under 300A of Indian Constitution, stating that no person can be deprived of his property save by law.

Right to equality;

Right to equality is an important right provided for in Articles 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of the constitution. It is the principal foundation of all other rights and liberties, and guarantees the following:

  • Equality before law: Article 14 of the constitution guarantees that all citizens shall be equally protected by the laws of the country. It means that the State cannot discriminate any of the Indian citizens on the basis of their religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth’
  • Equality in matters of public employment: Article 16 of the constitution lays down that the State cannot discriminate against anyone in the matters of employment. All citizens can apply for government jobs. There are some exceptions. The Parliament may enact a law stating that certain jobs can only be filled by applicants who are domiciled in the area. This may be meant for posts that require knowledge of the locality and language of the area. The State may also reserve posts for members of backward classes, scheduled castes or scheduled tribes which are not adequately represented in the services under the State to bring up the weaker sections of the society. Also, there a law may be passed which requires that the holder of an office of any religious institution shall also be a person professing that particular religion.According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2003, this right shall not be conferred to oversees citizens of India.
  • The Constitution of India contains the right to freedom, given in articles 19, 20, 21 and 22, with the view of guaranteeing individual rights that were considered vital by the framers of the constitution. It is a cluster of four main laws. The right to freedom in Article 19 guarantees the following six freedoms in this regard.
    • Right to freedom of religion

      Right to freedom of religion, covered in Articles 25, 26, 27 and 28, provides religious freedom to all citizens of India. The objective of this right is to sustain the principle of secularism in India. According to the Constitution, all religions are equal before the State and no religion shall be given preference over the other. Citizens are free to preach, practice and propagate any religion of their choice.

    • Article 25 of the Indian Constitution deems the carrying of a kirpan to be included in the profession of the Sikh religion, thus legalizing the carrying of a kirpan by Sikhs.
    • No weapons but Kirpan

All of you are requested to give your views on this and what should be done legally and through media please pass on this message to all your friends so that the authorities realize that we will not take any kind of interference in our religious beliefs lying down and will take course to all legal ways .

We request Govt. of India to cancel the said exam taken in Kashmir and re-shedule this on a new date allowing Sikh students and others to appear with their mandatory religious signs. There must not be any discrimination on religious grounds, color or race but every eligible candidate should be allowed to appear for a better tomorrow.

Ajmer Singh Randhawa.

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