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Jul 23, 2014 at 01:27pm IST

Indian basketball team's Sikh players forced to remove turbans: report

According to a report in The Times of India, Sikh members of the Indian basketball team - which was part of the FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China - were forced to remove their turbans before stepping on the court during the tournament.

The team's two Sikh players - Amritpal Singh and Amjyot Singh - were not allowed to play India's campaign-opener against Japan on July 12 due to the turbans they were wearing.

As per the match officials, International Basketball Association (FIBA) rules don't permit players to wear headgears during a game. Article 4.4.2 of FIBA's rules states: "Players shall not wear equipment (objects) that may cause injury to other players," adding, "Headgear, hair accessories and jewellery are not permitted."

Indian basketball team's Sikh players forced to remove turbans: report

Amritpal and Amjyot were forced to remove their turbans during the recently concluded FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China.

India's American coach Scott Flemming tried to explain the officials but they were adamant and didn't allow the two players in the starting five. Subsequently, both Amritpal and Amjyot had to remove their turbans, after which they were permitted to play in the first quarter against Japan.

Both the players had to play India's next six matches without their turbans, with hair tied with a band.

"We have always played in turbans, even in last year's Asian Championship in Manila and also the recently held Lusofonia Games in Goa," Amritpal told TOI. "This Asia Cup was a memorable event for all of us. But the controversy left both of us distressed. I wear a turban in practice too, and it was strange to not have it on during the game."