School excludes Sikh girl for wearing religious bangle

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London, Nov 7 (UNI) A Sikh teenager here has been excluded from school for wearing a religious bangle.

Sarika Singh (14) refused to remove her Kara (steel bangle) because she felt it was ''a constant reminder to do good''.

A spokesman for the school in South Wales confirmed that the pupil had been temporarily excluded for failing to accept a governors' ruling.

Aberdare Girls School in Wales has a strict uniform policy which prevents pupils from wearing any kind of religious symbol.

Muslim girls are not allowed to wear headscarves at the school and all pupils are prevented from openly displaying their faith.

Despite the rules, Sarika's mother Sunita Singh said the family was seeking legal advice in an attempt to challenge the decision. Ms Singh said her daughter would happily remove the bangle for wood, metal work and gym classes, for safety reasons.

However, she wanted her daughter to be allowed to wear the Kara at other times and said her calls had been backed by local politicians and the Sikh Federation.

Earlier this week, Ms Singh had a meeting with the school and argued her daughter's case with the board of governors but they refused to allow her to wear the bangle.

''It is not jewellery, it is a part of our faith and symbol of our belief. We feel very strongly that Sarika has a right to manifest her religion, she's not asking for anything big and flashy, she's not making a big fuss, she just wants a reminder of her religion,'' she said.

Sarika was first excluded on Monday and then asked to leave classes for a fixed period yesterday.

The school's governors rejected Sarika's request to wear the bangle after examining the uniform policy and human rights legislation in detail.

''It's very important to me, it constantly reminds me to do good and not to do bad, especially with my hands,'' Sarika said.

Ms Singh said she would do ''whatever it takes'' to change the decision and pointed out that the family had the full support of the Sikh Federation.


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