Milkha lambasts turban search of Jeev's coach in Italy

Last Updated 16 March 2011, 08:20 IST

"It is an insult to Sikh community and we should take it seriously. It is a matter of great concern. The entire Sikh community is outraged over the racial profiling. It should not have happened," Milkha fumed.

"This is the second incident when my son had gone to play there (Italy). Even though Amritinder Singh (coach) repeatedly told them that it is against Sikhism they did not listen to him. Everyone across the world knows what Sikhism is.

"I will talk to the Prime Minister in this regard. I would also take up the matter with Sonia Gandhi as she belongs to that country. It is a high time that we should take the matter seriously or otherwise there will be more such incidents in the future," he added. Amritinder, who was accompanying Jeev for three tournaments on the European Tour, was told that he should either remove the turban or not board the flight with several people at the airport watching the scene.

Jeev protested by telling the airport security officials that it was nothing but harassment but to no avail. The adamant security staff at the airport let the duo off to board the flight only after Amritinder removed his turban and it was checked by them.

"I told the security people that this is not the way to conduct. I have been travelling for close to 35 years but such a thing had never happened," Amritinder Singh told PTI over phone from Italy.

"It is a personal insult as I have travelled all over the world and even though security officials put their detectors around my turban, I have never had to remove my turban. For me it is like being asked to strip in public," he said. Jeev called up India's Counsellor General in Italy and apprised him of the development after the incident.

An agitated Jeev said it was nothing but harassment of him and his coach by the Italian authorities. "My father wears a turban and I would be horrified if he was told to remove it unnecessarily and disrespectfully in front of hundreds of people," said Jeev.

The 39-year-old Jeev is currently ranked 176 in the world and has won three European Tour events - the Volvo Masters and China Open in 2006 and the 2008 Austrian Open. He also has six victories on the Asian Tour. His Volvo Masters win was at a co-sanctioned event.

(Published 16 March 2011, 08:20 IST)

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