In a recent incident, an Air India pilot was asked to remove his turban at Madrid airport despite having cleared metal detectors.Expressing concern, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa has written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar demanding an investigation.
Manjinder Singh Sirsa said the pilot, Captain Simranjeet Singh Gujral, was asked to remove his headgear by airport officials, despite crossing the metal detector, in a case of racial discrimination.
In a letter, he said, "I wish to share with you the harassment faced by an Air India official, Captain Simranjeet Singh Gujral, at Madrid airport.
He was subjected to racial discrimination because of his turban. The Madrid airport officials demanded him to remove his turban and asked for a manual check-up of his turban which is an offence in the eyes of a Sikh".
"All this happened despite Captain Gujral clearing the metal detectors. Truly, this is a case of bias and racial attitude towards Sikhs at the Madrid airport," he added.
The SAD leader briefed Jaishankar about similar incidents at the Madrid airport where Sikhs were asked to remove the turban.
"As you are well aware, the turban is the essence of a Sikh's identity and it is important to create awareness at the global level about how sensitive Sikhs are about their turban.
I request your good self to raise this issue at the global level and especially with Spain government at Madrid airport who continue to hurt our sentiments and play the "ignorance" card to their advantage," Sirsa added in the letter.
The Air India pilot had called the SAD leader on Tuesday and informed about the incident at the Madrid airport.
"I got a call from Captain Simran Gujral from the AIR INDIA flying AI 136 who was harassed at Madrid Airport where the airport officials mistreated him just because he was wearing turban. This is a racial behaviour and a disrespect towards Sikh turban," he wrote in a tweet.
"I request @DrSJaishankar Ji to address the issue at the global level and ensure that Sikhs don't get mistreated globally because of their turban," Sirsa said in another tweet.