Sikhs outraged as Kiwi club refuses to lift turban ban

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Auckland, June 14(ANI): The dispute between the New Zealand-Sikh community and an Auckland club seems to be far from being resolved, as the club has decided to maintain a ban on wearing 'turbans' in its bar.

The Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club held a poll during its annual meeting on Sunday, in which about 75 percent members said that they wanted to maintain its policy forbidding the headwear.

The vote was held after Karnail Singh was barred from entering the club in November last year for not removing his turban.

Club manager Patricia Rangi said that there was a long discussion on the issue, but refused to reveal the details.

The Sikh Council of New Zealand Secretary, Verpal Singh said that he was surprised at how many people voted against the motion.

He also said that the council was considering using the Human Rights Review Tribunal, though it was waiting for written confirmation of the proceedings.

"We are disappointed that the decision didn't go in our favour. Something that was surprising to us was that of 300 people that voted, there were over 200 who voted against it," Stuff.co.nz quoted Verpal, as saying.

"It's a bit of a wake up call to our community that we have a job to communicate to wider New Zealand society about the importance of the turban to us," he added.

Verpal further said that the turban is one of the Sikh religion's principal parts of faith, and asking people to remove it "is like asking someone to strip down in public".

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Human Rights Commission (HRC) has said that it is willing to help and resolve the differences.

The HRC had acted as a mediator shortly after Karnail was first barred.

HRC spokeswoman Kat Ryan said it would be in touch with both parties to see if it could assist any further now that the club had decided not to change its rules.

"If either one of the parties are not satisfied they can apply to the director of the office of Human Rights proceedings. If it is accepted by the director it can the taken before the Human Rights Review Tribunal," Ryan said. (ANI)

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