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May 19, 2011 at 12:41pm IST

Obama can wear cap inside Golden Temple: SGPC

New Delhi: A day after US President Barack Obama dropped the Amritsar's Golden Temple visit from his itinerary during his forthcoming visit to India, Siromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the nodal body of the Sikhs says, Obama doesn't have to wear a headscarf. Citing previous examples, it has said Obama could don a cap if he wished.

But will the US President stop over at Amritsar now?

Reports suggest that Obama's advisers were not comfortable with the idea of the President wearing a headscarf. Apparently because he could be mistaken for a Muslim. While the controversy brews, the state government and the SGPC are optimistic that Obama will visit the Golden Temple.

Resident of Amritsar also feels the issue is being unnecessarily blown out of proportion.

"At Golden Temple or any other Sikh religious place, we welcome people from all religions. According to our Sikh faith, only the head should be covered; how they do it is up to them or their faith. We have no objections," said a local resident Manjeet Singh.

The SGPC, the nodal body of the Sikhs has dismissed the matter, saying its not mandatory with citing earlier visits of Queen Elizabeth and other leaders to Amritsa.

The SGPC said Obama could wear a cap if he wished so.

"I don't know from where these reports have arisen. They have held a couple of meetings with our staff. Even in those they have not raised any demands. SGPC is ready for his welcome, we want him to come here," says SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar.

"Previously the non-Sikh visitors, who have come to Golden Temple, like Queen Elizabeth wore a hat and nobody objected to that. Cap or hat is only prohibited for the Sikhs; they cannot visit the Golden Temple wearing a cap or a hat. For non-Sikhs, there are no restrictions like those," said Member of Siromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committeee Kiran Jot Kaur.

With Timothy Roemer, the US ambassador to India, saying Obama's itinerary is not finalised yet, there's still hope that Obama may come to Amritsar.

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