Italian Ambassador summoned on Jeev's coach's turban issue

Italian Ambassador summoned on Jeev's coach's turban issue

Noting that the matter was being investigated to ascertain facts and responsibilities, the envoy Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte said the security guidelines had to be implemented keeping the religious sensitivities in view.

The Italian envoy met Vivek Katju, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, during which India registered the protest, saying religious sentiments of Indians need to be respected.

Responding to the Members in the Rajya Sabha on the incident, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna assured the House that the issue would be taken up with Italy and said "whenever there is an insult to Sikhs, we take it as national insult. We take it up in that spirit."

"He (Katju) conveyed our great unhappiness at the very serious incident. He asked the Ambassador to transmit our strong feelings to the highest level to the Italian authorities.

He said Italian government should be sensitive to the significance of the Sikh turban, to the Sikhs as community as well as to the Indian nation. He said necessary sensitivity should be shown in such cases, official spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told reporters after the meeting.

After his meeting with the Secretary (West), the Italian envoy said "the matter is very disturbing. Already been brought to the highest level in Rome and Milano. Investigation is on to ascertain facts and responsibilities. To this, personally I add my deep regrets." The envoy was called to the South Block, a day after Jeev Milkha Singh's coach Amritinder Singh was asked to take off his turban while undergoing a security check at the Milan airport, the second time in the last one week.

Amritinder, who was travelling with Jeev for the Sicillian Open tournament, was rudely told on March 15 by Milan airport by security officials that he could either remove the turban or not board the flight, which led to protest from the Indian government. India had raised the issue with Italian government, to which they apologised at that time.

However, yesterday, the coach had to undergo the same ordeal even though he showed a letter of apology from the Italian Golf Federation for the first incident. Krishna has already condemned the behavior of airport personnel at Milan, saying religious sentiments of Indians need to be respected.

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