New Delhi: This is one issue that was bound to figure during French President Sarkozy's India visit. The French envoy on Thursday told CNN-IBN that an exception for turbaned Sikh boys in French public schools is not possible. That perhaps explains why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leave the talking to his officials.
An upset Sikh community off to personally communicate their angst to the French - a ban on the turban is an insult to Sikhism.
Paris says the ban is only in public schools and on display of religious symbols across religions so Sikhs can’t wear turbans, Muslim girls can’t wear the Hijab, Christians can’t wear the cross and no skull caps for the Jews. But they are in no mood to listen.
The French have an alternate suggestion on hand. The affected parents can enroll their kids in private schools, suggested the French envoy to CNN-IBN.
Ironically, this controversy re-surfaces when India has a Sikh prime minister and the French president comes calling. So will Manmohan Singh bat for them?
Sources in the external affairs ministry say India will ask France to be more sensitive on this issue. But Delhi realises that the ban is not discriminatory and it understands that previous attempts to intervene by this very government have not succeeded.
Plus, the affected community is as small as a couple of hundred. So Manmohan Singh may just ask his officials to do the talking.