Jeev's coach asked to remove turban for 2nd time at Milan

Last Updated 22 March 2011, 12:23 IST

Amritinder, who was travelling with Jeev for the Sicillian Open, was rudely told on March 15 by Milan airport security officials that he could either remove the turban or not board the flight which led to protest from the Indian government.

Despite the expression of "regret" from Italy on that episode, the security officials of the same airport today asked Amritinder to remove his turban or miss the flight, which left Jeev and his coach stunned.

Amritinder showed a letter of apology from the Italian Golf Federation on what happened last week but to no avail.

"I told the security official -- who incidentally was the same one who had made me remove my turban last week and put it in a shoe tray -- that the European Union rules say that I cannot be asked to remove my turban but it can be patted down. However, he (securityman) said that he could not follow the rule as he needed to see what was inside," Amritinder told PTI from Milan.

"I showed him the letter of apology that I received from the Italian Golf Federation and told him that what happened last time was wrong, but he said there was nothing he could do about it," said Amritinder who was travelling with Jeev to Spain for the Andalucia Open which starts on Thursday.

Amritinder said he was taken to a private room this time and surrounded by 10 policemen while he removed his turban.

"I understand that rules are important but then why are they not followed. Most importantly, what is the Italian government's policy on turbaned Sikhs. Are they all guilty till proved innocent?" asked Amritinder.

Jeev expressed shock that his coach was asked to remove his turban for the second time, even after the Italian media condemned the first incident last week.

"We are sportsmen and are treated with immense respect everywhere in the world. This is the first time it has happened but it seems that if we do not raise our voices against it, this will soon become a trend. What we need is a policy that protects our personal privacy and is well with the rules," said Jeev.

(Published 22 March 2011, 12:23 IST)

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