Sikh denied entry to NZ club, leaders to discuss issue

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Wellington, June 18: A Sikh man has filed a complaint of discrimination with the Human Rights Commission in New Zealand after he was denied entry to a club, media reported.

Gurpreet Singh was denied entry to the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club in Auckland when he went there with colleagues on Tuesday.

Sikh denied entry to NZ club

Sikh leaders in New Zealand will hold a meeting in Auckland this weekend to discuss how to prevent religious discrimination against their community, Radio New Zealand reported.

The club is defending its actions, saying the rule is not racist.

In Sikhism, men who have been baptised must wear the five articles of faith - including uncut hair worn beneath a turban.

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But Gurpreet Singh said the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club took exception to that.

"When we just went and tried to go inside, they just told me, 'Sorry sir, you need to remove your turban'. I said, 'No, this is my religious belief,' but they said, 'This is our headgear policy'."

Singh said he tried to reason with the staff in front of his colleagues, they had taken him to the club for lunch as their guest.

"It was embarrassing at the time. But we tried to explain that this is not a kind of headgear, this is not just a hat - this is my culture and this is my religious beliefs."

It was not the first time the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club had refused entry to someone wearing a turban.

In 2009, Karnail Singh was not allowed into the same club for wearing turban.

Responding to the latest incident, the club's president John Steven said that rule still stood.

"It was a rule that we've had for 50 years," Mr Steven said.

"I feel sorry for him that he felt disaffected but it's nothing personal, it's nothing racist."

Mr Steven said he was willing to raise the issue with members again, but the Sikh community should not hope for a swift change.

New Zealand Sikhs have doubled in number since 2006 to nearly 20,000.

Prime Minister John Key has termed the incident as disappointing.

OneIndia News

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