Flaying the recent decision of the Chandigarh administration in making helmets mandatory for Sikh women two-wheeler riders not wearing a turban, women wing president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Bibi Jagir Kaur, has said, “When death comes, even helmet cannot save us.”
Kaur, former (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee) SGPC president and also ex-Bholath MLA, made this statement after chairing a meeting of women members of the SGPC at the Teja Singh Samundri Hall, the headquarters of the apex gurdwara body.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)’s women wing leader, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, and other Sikh women intellectuals also attended the meeting. She added that the meeting resolved to intensify efforts to ensure that the UT administration revoked the decision.
“We will call on Punjab governor VP Singh Badnore, who is also the UT administrator to take up the issue,” she added.
“Wearing a helmet, which is a sort of a top or cap, is a violation of the Sikh code of conduct and tenets. The Sikh who wears a top or cap is considered Tankhiya (guilty of religious misconduct). The Sikh women cannot wear it at the cost of their maryada, which is supreme for them. So, they should not be forced to do so by implementing this kind of rule,” she added.
“As per the new rule, Sikh women wearing the turban have been given exemption. However, I would like to clarify that if a Sikh woman opts not to wear a turban, she does not turn non-Sikh. It is her will to wear or not wear the turban. All Sikh women with surname ‘Kaur’, should be exempt from wearing the helmet,” she said, adding that Sikhs had already contested legal battles across the world to be permitted to wear religious articles. “This is another challenge before us in our own country.”
Sikh clergy to discuss matter on July 23
After the meeting, women members also met Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, requesting him to take measures to ensure that all Sikh women are exempt from wearing helmet in Chandigarh. “If we accept the UT’s rule, other states will also follow it,” they told the jathedar.
The jathedar told the members that the matter would be discussed during the meeting of the five Sikh high priests (Panj Singh Sahiban) slated for July 23.