Italy’s ambassador to India Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte has assured that religious sentiments of Sikhs would be fully respected during security checks at airports. Reacting to the uproar in Parliament over removal of turban of golfer Jeev Milkha Singh’s coach Amritinder Singh during a security check at Milan airport recently, Monteforte, in a communiqué to Partap Singh Bajwa, Congress MP from Gurdaspur, said the religious sentiments of Sikhs were respected in Italy. “Around 1 lakh Indians live permanently in Italy, while a majority of them belong to the Sikh community. The regulations concerning security checks at Italian airports have specific provisions for Sikhs, which are fully compatible with respect for their religious sentiments,” he said, adding, “The incident can therefore be regarded as a regrettable but isolated instance. I have taken up the matter with the Italian authorities to ensure that existing rules of procedure concerning security checks would be in future fully implemented by all officers on duty at Malpensa airport.”
Bajwa had demanded that the centre must take up the issue at the political level with foreign governments to save the Sikh community from harassment. He had stated that removal of turbans at international airports should not be considered as a minor issue as it involved sentiments and self-respect of a community well known for their sacrifices in various fields.