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Sikhs boycott French Goods and Services
Walia echoes the statement offered by SIE.
"As from mid-night of 19 April 2005, Sikhs all over the world are urged to be selective when purchasing items or securing services that are connected with France until such time that the French Government reverts to a more civilised and legal position that complies with international laws safeguarding Human Rights of the individual concerned with religion and religious practices."
The following item which appeared earlier this year in The Sikh Times UK supports the suggestion by Sikhs In England:
The Sikh Times UK (Issue 157) – Spectrum column
Better understanding may be traded with the French!
Franco-Sikh relations are at the lowest point. Continued French insensitivity towards the Sikh turban issue, and the hardship being inflicted on French Sikhs as a result of the Turban ban in schools, is not untypical of the French. They stubbornly resist pleas by world leaders to understand the Sikh religio-cultural attachment to the Sikh turban, the “dastaar”, which is part of the Sikh code, the Reht Maryada. If only the French resistance before Hitler’s advancing army in the Second World War had been half as stubborn! Their’s is a strange way of repaying the French debt to the turbaned Sikh soldiers who gave their lives for French and human freedom in the two World Wars. Yet, the French do understand one language, and that is the language of trade.
The importance of this issue should not underrated – it is the business of all freedom loving people. S. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa MP (ex-Union Minister whom I met earlier this year) mentioned the possibility of a delegation of Indian MPs visiting France; and the news from SGPC contacts is not very encouraging so far. Yet, Indian Sikhs are more influential today than at any other time after the Indian “Independence" Dr Manmohan Singh's Government needs to send a clearer and a more robust message to the French. When human rights are abused in any country, commercial pressure can work sometimes. There should at least be a hint of the possibility of trading difficulties between France and India in future – India is now tipped by CIA to become the third “super power” by 2020.
A suggestion has already been circulated that at least the Sikhs and Muslims worldwide should stop buying French goods and make this known publicly. It may be that the careless French secularism may return to more responsible sanity following such publicity.
This is a battle in Europe, which we cannot afford to lose. It is a cause for which we will continue to get international backing from religious and political leaders. Also, this is a cause which would highlight the unique theo-political Sikh identity which symbolises human unity through respect for tolerance of diversity.
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