Kiwi Race Relations boss brands club's ban on Sikh turban "uncaring and disrespectful"

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Auckland, Jun 17 (ANI): Terming the ban on turbans inside the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club's premises uncaring and disrespectful, Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres has said that legal action would be the only avenue open if mediation between the club and the Sikh Council fell through.

"This is a simple matter of recognising religious diversity and, in particular, religious beliefs. We have police who wear turbans. This is uncaring and disrespectful," NZ Herald quoted Joris de Bres, as saying.

The Sikh Council of New Zealand is taking legal action against the club after it voted against changing a policy that effectively bans turban-wearing Sikhs from its premises.

Secretary Verpal Singh said the community would seek legal representation from the Human Rights Commission following an incident last November when a Sikh, Karnail Singh, was refused entry to a function in his honour at the club because his turban violated its "no headwear" rule.

"It's the next step in mediation that was started with the Human Rights Commission and as the logical next step we are going to the Human Rights Review Tribunal," Singh said.

The Sikh community is disappointed at the club's decision. "At issue is not that we want to go there to the club but we don't want to be excluded," he said.

The Auckland based 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.

Nearby clubs had however said they had no problems with Sikhs or turbans, but would not publicly comment on the issue. (ANI)

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