India protests Sikh golf coach's frisking in Italy

AP News
Posted: Mar 23, 2011 9:56 AM
India protests Sikh golf coach's frisking in Italy

India summoned the Italian ambassador Wednesday to protest demands by Milan airport officials that a world-class golfer's Sikh coach remove his turban during a security check a day earlier.

It was the second time in a week that Jeev Milkha Singh's coach Amritinder Singh had his turban removed and frisked in the northern Italian city.

Sikhs worldwide object to such searches as discriminatory and unnecessary in a world with machines for body scanning and metal detection.

Foreign Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna condemned the searches and said the religious practices of all Indians must be respected.

Italian Ambassador Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte told reporters Wednesday the matter was "very disturbing."

He expressed his "deep regrets" and said authorities in Rome and Milan were investigating.

The turban _ along with a comb, a sword, a specific undergarment and a metallic wrist bangle _ is part of the required dress for Sikh men. In addition, Sikh men and women are forbidden to cut their hair.

Acknowledging the problem with carrying a sword on a plane, men have modified the religious requirement by carrying pendants or blades embedded in their combs.

The United States passed new rules for its border agents last year saying passengers no longer have to remove turbans if it makes them uncomfortable.