sikh: Connecticut becomes first American state to enact law allowing Sikh policemen to wear turban – Times of India

AMRITSAR: Connecticut has become the first state in the United States to enact a law allowing Sikhs serving in the police department to wear turbans even as a few other states in the US have been accommodating the Sikh norm at their own level.
Swaranjit Singh Khalsa, councilman of Norwich City, said that governor of Connecticut Ned Lamont had on May 24 signed a bill, SB -133, allowing police officers to wear religious head coverings as part of their uniform, not only Sikhs but also people from other faiths, including Jews and Muslims, who wear headgears.
The law is the outcome of rigorous advocacy by Sikhs of Connecticut in support of the bill, whose language is inclusive, and will not only help Sikhs to wear turbans but also the people of other faiths, including Jews and Muslims, who wear headgears.
The bill, introduced by senator Bob Duff, demanded that “law enforcement unit shall adopt or amend a policy to permit a police officer to wear a religious head covering in accordance with the officer’s religious beliefs while the officer is on duty and wearing a uniform or other authorised attire, except where the use of tight-fitting protective headgear is required by such law enforcement unit”.
Khalsa said that 35 out of 36 senators and all the 151 House representatives voted “Yes” in support of the bill, which was finally signed by Lampoon.
“The Sikh headgear is presently being accommodated by a few police departments in the US at their own level but after the enactment of the law, Connecticut had become the first state in the US that allows Sikhs to wear a turban in the police department,” he said.
He added that he had mentioned in his testimony in favor of the bill that “after 9/11, the Sikhs have been victims of many hate crimes because of ignorance and lack of understanding about Sikhism and its articles of faith, most prominently turban, ‘dastaar,’ but despite many stereotypes, Sikhs have upheld their commitment toward their faith and society”.
He also said that Connecticut was the only state in the US that recognised November 1 as Sikh Genocide Remembrance Day through public Act and made it law to commemorate it every year.

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