SGPC President writes to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Amritsar, January 12: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Harjinder Singh Dhami has raised a strong objection to the new helmet policy of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, for the Sikh soldiers serving in the Indian Army. He has written a letter to Union Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh, asking him to withdraw this decision.
He said that the decision to implement a special helmet for Sikhs serving in the Indian Army will destroy the unique Sikh identity and Sikh Maryada (code of conduct). He said the turban is not merely a cloth, but it is also a symbol of Sikh heritage besides having spiritual and temporal significance. The commitment of Sikhs to the turban also reflects Sikh pride and adherence to the Guru’s command. He said ordering a Sikh soldier to take off his turban and wear a helmet just because it offers better protection to his head, is ignorance to the Sikh’s psyche, and his attachment to turban.
Harjinder Singh Dhami said the decision of forcing Sikh soldiers to wear helmets is hurtful for the religious sentiments of the community. He wrote to the Defence Minister that the important examples of Sikh soldiers fighting wars wearing their turbans without exception include the battles with Mughals at the time of Sikh Gurus, the Battle of Saragarhi, the World Wars, and the wars fought by the Indian Army in the past. Even in the Indian Army, the Sikh soldiers serving in The Sikh Regiment, Sikh Light Infantry, and Punjab Regiment, are performing their duties diligently to protect the country, he wrote.
SGPC President said India is a multi-religious country and the people of different communities have the right to serve for the nation while practicing their religion. People of different faiths working in Armed and paramilitary forces reflect the diversity and colors of our nation, he said. The Indian Army’s latest decision to implement helmet policy for Sikh soldiers is violation of Sikh Maryada and culture, he said.
Harjinder Singh Dhami asked the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to immediately withdraw the new helmet policy being implemented for the Sikh soldiers, so that the unique identity of Sikhs in Defence services is maintained.